Bluewater sailors issue plea for cleaner oceans

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The anglers in the room know the situation — the line tightens and, for a split second, you think you’ve got a fish on.

But you instantly realize it’s some inanimate object. Chances are, it’s a piece of plastic. The garbage, referred to as “leakage,” is a growing problem in the ocean, according to sailors who travel the world’s most obscure waterways.

For every three tons of fish in the ocean, there will be a ton of plastic within a decade if the current trajectory continues, advocates say.

As a result, sailors in what many call the world’s most grueling race, the Volvo Ocean Race, are coming to port stops with a plea to clean up the oceans. The Volvo Ocean Race Ocean Summit is part of an initiative to prompt individuals to act with legislators and the private and nonprofit sectors to effect change.

Speakers in Newport on Friday ranged from Rhode Island political leaders such as Republican U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo to Lisa Emelia Svensson, Swedon’s ambassador for ocean, seas and freshwater, and Henry Stenson, executive vice president of corporate communication and sustainability for the Volvo Penta Group.

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