Greenpeace Ships Are Setting Sail to Tackle the Global Plastic Pollution Crisis

by Graham Forbes

February 7, 2019

Wanna know where plastic pollution really starts and ends? Join the Rainbow Warrior and Beluga as they set sail to find out all about it.

Tavish Campbell attaches a GPS tracker onto ghost fishing nets in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The buoy will send the position of the nets as they travel around the gyre, increasing our understanding of currents and how trash accumulates in the gyre. The crew of the Greenpeace ship MY Arctic Sunrise voyaged into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch document plastics and other marine debris. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a soupy mix of plastics and microplastics, now twice the size of Texas, in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean.

© Justin Hofman / Greenpeace

Corporations have created a plastic monster. Over 90% of the plastics ever produced have not been recycled, yet corporations have plans to dramatically increase their production of plastic packaging. With plastic production set to quadruple by 2050, recycling can never be enough to solve this problem.

But the global movement to hold these corporations accountable is growing. More than 3 million of you have joined us in urging companies to stop polluting our planet with throwaway plastic. And together with over 1,400 allies in the global Break Free From Plastic movement, we conducted 239 cleanups in 42 countries to identify the biggest corporate polluters.

In October, Greenpeace International released the Crisis of Convenience report, based on a survey to 11 of the biggest fast-moving consumer goods companies globally. Despite some of these companies publicly signing a voluntary, non-binding commitment to tackle the crisis, the report revealed that none of the companies surveyed currently have comprehensive plans to move away from single-use packaging; on the contrary, most of them have plans to increase the overall amount of plastic packaging they produce.

So now we are deploying the Greenpeace ships; the Rainbow Warrior and the Beluga, to tell the global story of where plastic pollution really starts and ends. We are rallying supporters worldwide to help hold these companies accountable and to make sure they follow up on their words with bold action. Because we don’t need more talk — we need concrete, urgent action to stop plastic pollution at the source!

Greenpeace’s flagship, the Rainbow Warrior, has been surrounded by giant single-use plastic items in Mediterranean waters. The action seeks to make visible the invisible, and to denounce the problem of plastic pollution in the oceans, especially in the Mediterranean Sea.

It’s time for Nestle, Unilever, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo., Colgate, Danone, Johnson & Johnson, and Mars to be transparent about exactly how much plastic packaging they are producing and make concrete plans to reduce. It’s time for these corporations to invest in alternative ways to deliver their products to us and phase out single-use plastic.

These companies have created a monster, and we are not willing to allow the plastic monster to grow anymore. We need concrete plans for reduction, and we need them now. We need corporations to slay the plastic monster.

Stay tuned for more details about Greenpeace’s ships’ whereabouts in the coming weeks and months and to see how you can get involved! 

By Graham Forbes

Graham Forbes fights for our ocean as Greenpeace's Global Seafood Markets Project Leader.

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