Palau and Japan recently embarked on a Goodwill Yacht Race that not only firmed up bilateral relations between the two nations but also integrated innovative citizen research on marine microplastics.
Palau and Japan marked its 25th anniversary as regional partners with the 2019-2020 Goodwill Yacht Race. With concerns rising over the microplastic “garbage patches” floating in the ocean and causing harm to marine flora and fauna, the two nations agreed to include a research component into the race.
According to the NOAA, plastic is the most prevalent type of marine debris and it can come in all shapes and sizes. “Microplastics” are less than five millimeters in length.
From the starting point in Yokohama, Japan until its final destination in Palau, one of the race yachts equipped with a microplastic sampler gathered specimens for research.
Meanwhile, on board one of the ships, a team from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology conducted educational programs for Palauan children who traveled with the team from Japan to Palau on one of the ships.
At the closure, Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. delivered a message to all participants. Remengesau said: “We celebrate heritage, we celebrate friendship, and we celebrate the human spirit that resides so closely with the ocean. We take effort to preserve and protect our future by showing the world that we are responsible for the ocean that nurtures us.”