Dr Dryden commenting on the importance of Phil’s work on the environment said: “In the climate change debate, the fundamental of us having healthy oceans gets underplayed. Not only have we harvested over 90% of the fish, littered our oceans with plastics, but also we’ve probably poisoned 40% of all the plankton, which are in effect the lungs of the planet. Not only do they produce most of the oxygen that we breathe but are responsible for sequestering anthropogenic CO2 and have been keeping the Earth’s climate in balance. But there is a tipping point coming.
During the last 60 years, we’ve been inadvertently putting toxic chemicals from our household cleaners, shower gels, bubble bath and pharmaceuticals down the drain. The sad fact is that most wastewater treatment systems don’t remove the chemicals so they end up in rivers and, ultimately our oceans. NASA reported recently that their research showed we are losing plankton from our oceans at an alarming rate of 1% every year in the Northern hemisphere. What this means is that carbon dioxide levels are raising faster and, in 25 to 40 years, the pH will drop from 8.06 to 7.9, there will be a tropic collapse of the ocean ecosystem and we lose all fish, seals, birds and whales.
The GOES Foundation with Phil Sharp’s Vendee Globe Energy Challenge aims to collect and develop the evidence to persuade policy makers to take action and get these pollutants out of the environment as quickly as possible. Phil will collect plankton samples for analysis and we will use our findings to educate and inform consumers, industry and policy makers and Governments of the issues and implications of these toxic substances making there way from our homes and businesses to our oceans.
If we stop their discharge, develop technology to remove them from our waste water, we will, in turn, protect and restore our ocean ecosystems, reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide and it might even help reverse climate change”.