TODAY |

Kiwi actor arrives home after six months away on 'very important mission' testing sea for plastic pollution

A Kiwi actor has arrived home after half a year at sea testing for plastic pollution.

Phil Somerville has travelled the pacific on board the yacht Today, where more than 80 per cent of the samples taken had plastic in them.

Somerville said, "It's been a hard slog, but it's been a very important mission".

"We did 23-25 trawls along the way in total, and we did discover we have a very sick ocean. In 23-25 trawls, all but one had plastic."

Marine biologist Magen Schifiliti said, "We were taking samples literally hundreds of miles from land in any direction, and for us to still find plastic in the ocean was very eye-opening".

Most of what they found was microplastic.

"Microplastic is 5mm or smaller and those are the bad ones we are really concerned about ‘cause fish think they’re plankton and then eat the microplastic and then we eat the fish," she said.

The trip was 8000 nautical miles, with stops at nine island nations.

"I can tell you, I just trawled out here, 200 miles out. I trawled in a harbour and we found five pieces of plastic, six in the other trawl. That tells me there's as much here as anywhere else in the world," Somerville said.

The actor, whose trip across the pacific also marks his move back home from the US, wants to use what he found to educate others.

"I want to put a documentary of little bits together so we can put it out to the New Zealand children, all the south pacific – globally, really - to teach the kids at that level we need to do something now," he said.

Actor Phil Sommerville travelled the Pacific, and found more than 80 per cent of the samples taken had plastic taken in them. Source: Breakfast