Photo: Stefan Coppers/Team Brunel/Volvo Ocean Race
ALICANTE, Spain, April 22 – The Ocean Summit on Marine Debris during the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Newport, Rhode Island, USA, next month has attracted a stellar list of expert speakers to bring attention to a ‘growing catastrophe’.
The summit will take place on May 15, and is sponsored by Volvo Group, The Embassy of Sweden, the U.S. State Department, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Sail Newport, which is hosting the stopover.
Among the speakers will be Team Alvimedica skipper, Charlie Enright, who has seen for himself the trash which has been dumped in the oceans on the route of the 38,739-nautical mile round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race.
"Our oceans are our race courses and, for the better part of this last year, they’ve been my home. You don’t leave pallets, nets, and plastic bottles lying around your home, so why should we leave them in the ocean?" said Enright.
Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race and a four-time competitor, said he is increasingly concerned about the problem, which has grown significantly since he first contested the event in the early 1990s.
"Our biggest challenge in fighting the pollution of the oceans is ignorance. I am honoured to be part of the Ocean Summit to help bring more attention to a growing catastrophe that is the responsibility of all of us to reverse,” he said.
“Marine debris is a significant problem that has a direct impact on oceans, aquatic life and ultimately human health,” added Henry Sténson, executive vice president of Corporate Communications and Sustainability Affairs for the Volvo Group.
“One of the core values of the Volvo Group is environmental care, and we are pleased to be one of the sponsors of the Ocean Summit on Marine Debris in order to help bring attention to this important global environmental issue.”
Summit attendees will hear addresses from Frostad and Sténson; Bjӧrn Lyrvall, Ambassador of Sweden to the USA; American Senator Sheldon Whitehouse; Dr. Sandra Whitehouse, senior policy advisor for Ocean Conservancy; Catherine Novelli, Undersecretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment, U.S. State Department; Dr. Lisa Svensson, Sweden’s Ambassador for Oceans, Seas and Freshwater; Rhode Island Governor, Gina Raimondo; Wendy Schmidt, president of The Schmidt Family Foundation; Kersti Stranqvist, senior vice president for Sustainability, SCA; and Daniel Wild, head of Sustainability Investing Research and Development, RobecoSAM, an international investment company with a specific focus on sustainability investments.
Professor Dennis Nixon, Rhode Island Sea Grant Director for the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, will open and close the event.
Frostad will introduce a brief film about marine debris, and Enright will narrate it.