RAW in South America

Exploring South America’s plastic footprint with RAW Foundation

RAW founder Melinda Watson is preparing to embark on an epic, five-month expedition from Salvador to Lima and into the Amazon. Her journey will take in South America’s, lakes, wetlands and rivers; some of the most important ecosystem providers on the planet.

I have organised this expedition to deliver one central message,” says Melinda. “The proliferation of single-use plastics has to STOP. It is contaminating precious water systems, threatening marine life, passing up the food chain, affecting human health, impacting wildlife and encouraging a throwaway consumer culture across the world.”

A spotlight on the plastic problem in South America

Leading a world-first expedition, RAW will set out to track the plastic footprint around South America – clockwise from Salvador, Brazil to Lima, Peru – and through the Amazon from Iquitos to Belem.

The idea is to shine a spotlight on the sheer scale of the problem, the transboundary nature of plastic pollution and the worst offenders through:

  • Statistical sampling of plastic waste including microparticles and microfibres
  • River, lake and beach shoreline to water transects
  • Photographic and aerial surveys
  • Interviews and personal testimony
  • Videos and photography

The purpose of the expedition

The expedition will collect data about the distribution of plastic pollution along its route. This data will form the basis of a pollution map, highlighting hotspots and migration routes of plastic into the oceans.

The collection of this data will allow us to:

  • Build on valuable ‘Raw in Africa’ research collected from Raw Foundation’s Cairo to Cape Town expedition in 2016
  • Review the effectiveness of legislation, policies and waste facilities and compare approaches from different countries
  • Develop effective solutions and identify areas for policy-based and consumer-driven change

Help us share the story

Raw in South AmericaIf you’re sick of disposable plastic, please become a part of this.

Follow RAW’s journey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: /rawfoundationuk – share our findings to show your friends and followers the true extent of the problem.

“I’m passionate about the need for urgent, effective and radical responses to our apocalyptic plastic challenge. We can do something and we must. There is no time to waste,” says Melinda.