Destination: Indian Ocean/Kenya
Expedition: This is a story of science and community, of devastation and hope. Marine litter in Kenya is a rampant problem millions of pieces of trash, from flip flops to candy wrappers, have coated pristine sandy beaches in a layer of plastic. Mary Chiphatsi is trying to turn this problem around. Growing up in a small, remote village on the coast, she returned home from boarding school to find unhindered development and destruction of her coastline. Now, she’s a marine scientist leading a team of researchers studying the impacts of plastic litter and the invasive mollusks that attach to them. These alien hitchhikers are one of the scientists’ biggest fears, given how quickly other alien species have wiped out endemic fish. Mary and her team are faced with a race to understand what these alien species are and what impacts they have on local food species while simultaneously try to solve the litter problem. There is hope. Awareness campaigns and beach clean ups are bringing adults and kids from coastal communities together to reverse the tide of plastic destruction.