The third of the Volvo Ocean Race's seven Ocean Summits in the 2017-18 takes place in Hong Kong on Monday 22 January.
Paul Rose, a world-renowned broadcaster and explorer, will once again host the event, after taking the microphone for the first Summit in Alicante in October.
Hi Paul. This is your second Ocean Summit as MC, can you tell us why you’re taking part in the event in Hong Kong?
The more I get involved with the Volvo Ocean Race and the more I hear about it, the more I feel how important it is for me to be part of the Volvo Ocean Race Ocean Summits. Coming to Hong Kong is a first for the Race and we’re showing the people of this great city true ocean leadership by talking about the pressing need to provide solutions to the plastic crisis affecting our seas.
We’ve got the world’s best sailors and a highly informative and effective Science Programme on ocean plastic under the umbrella of an inspirational Sustainability Programme and this is something I am so proud to be a part of.
At the Cape Town Ocean Summit we released microplastic data from our Science Programme that found there was over three million micro plastic particles per square kilometre of ocean. Did this surprise you?
Sadly it doesn’t. I’ve been a commercial diver since 1969 and over the intervening years I’ve found that there are less fish in the Ocean and a lot more plastic. Because of the groundbreaking research into microplastics being carried out by the Turn the Tide on Plastic boat, scientists and the public are beginning to understand the threat our Oceans are under. Now, wherever I go diving in the world, I always take water samples and, without fail, find microplastics are present.
Since you hosted the first Ocean Summit in Alicante we’ve seen the issues associated with plastic agenda gain more global traction. Why do you think this is the case?
This is definitely the sweet spot for Ocean conservation and it’s been a long time coming. I’ve glad to say that I’ve never seen such a high level of awareness amongst everyone from global media to science institutes and the general public. The Volvo Ocean Race has been a big part of that ‘noise’ and will continue to be so.
How can people make a change in their own lives to reduced plastic pollution?
The first thing people can do is get an understanding of the global ocean crisis and then do everything they can to reduce their own use of single-use plastics. We need to start with simple behavioural changes and this is everyone’s responsibility. A great place to start is by taking the UN #CleanSeas pledge.