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Global scientific expedition will stop on Guam

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An odyssey expedition around the world geared toward making a global assessment of pollution in the world's oceans will be making a stopover in Guam this July. It's a boating expedition around the world, but not of explorers - of scientists. Their goal is to travel for 300 days to learn more about the five trash gyres around the globe.

Race for Water Foundation press officer Lucie Gerber told KUAM News, "Some people speak of a seventh continent, but it is not really a seventh - you cannot walk on it. It's like a soup of debris."

Very little is known about these trash gyres, although scientists do know they exist. The race for water foundation aims to better understand them by collecting scientific data during a year-long journey. Scientists will analyze physical trash, as well as what Gerber describes as "glitter" - or broken down trash particles. Gerber says as these particles form, they release toxic chemicals into the ocean, adding, "So when they disintegrate for when they do these toxics or these chemicals end up in the sea, and that means the water could become toxic. And what's maybe easier to understand is these little glitters are being eaten by fish and then we will eat the fish, that means at the end we are contaminating the food chain 850 and who's at the end of the food chain right now? We are."

Since pollution in the oceans contaminates the food chain, it affects everyone. The ultimate goal of the race for water odyssey is to gain a clearer picture of ocean pollution and determine ways to address it.

Although the journey began just this March, Gerber says preliminary results have been alarming. "What I can say already is that what we discovered with our eyes was really shocking, because we went and we've been to places like the Bermudas or Easter Islands, which are known as Paradise Islands, obviously, and you arrive there and you see so much garbage. So much, so many debris, it's crazy. So we've been really shocked by what we've discovered."

The expedition will make a scientific stop in Guam this July. "We have these stops that are really about scientific studies and we have the stops that are more about raising awareness," said Gerber. "And Guam is really about scientific stop?"

This means a crew of scientists will be out along the beaches analyzing trash and collecting data, 80% of which stems from human activity. To learn more about the expedition you can visit www.raceforwater.com.  
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