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 April 09, 2020
Teacher finds microplastic in every sample taken during Atlantic expedition

 A primary school teacher has returned from a life-changing experience - sailing across the Atlantic Ocean as part of an environmental project to study the impact of plastic in the sea.

Louise Tremewan took a year-long sabbatical from Marazion Primary School to be part of eXXpedition, a scientific expedition which sees like-minded people sail around the world's oceans to collect data on marine plastic pollution.

The 34-year-old was onboard as part of an all-female crew for three weeks covering the Azores to Antigua leg of the Round the World scheme.

Ms Tremewan, from Helston, said that after suffering from awful sea sickness for 48 hours, she finally found her sea legs and enjoyed what she described as a truly "incredible" journey.

She said: "At first glance, the ocean looked beautiful. We had some amazing moments. Every single sunrise and sunset and even a moon rise over the ocean were fantastic moments. One day a minke whale followed our boat as did so many pods of dolphins.

"The relationships I formed with the rest of the crew was amazing. I have truly made friends for life.

"But sadly, on closer inspection, we found through our research significant quantities of microplastics in almost every sample we took.

"When sailing through the North Atlantic gyre, we found evidence of seven bits of microplastics for each fish larvae."

The Year 6 teacher and paddleboard instructor with Ocean High SUP in Marazion, who led a Surfers Against Sewage Campaign to see the school become the third Plastic Free School in the country, added: "When we were over 1,000 miles from land we found a plastic spoon in one of our samples."

During our community outreach beach clean in the Azores, we found significant amounts of plastics and other marine litter. It reminded me very much of the debris we so often find on our Cornish beaches."

Ms Tremewan will be back in Cornwall in February and will be visiting a number of local schools to talk about her experiences.

She added: "I also intend to plan some events with Plastic Free Marazion to engage with the local community.

"If any community groups such as the WI, Brownies, Cubs, or the University of the Third Age would like me to come and give a presentation, please feel free to contact me."