When it comes time to leave, we wonder about what kind of imprint we’ve left in our wake. To get an answer, we asked some of the characters we met in Guadeloupe.
On making landfall on an island or a shore, the Race for Water Odyssey teams expend a great deal of energy, raise awareness among the local youngsters, play host to local protagonists and open up discussions about plastic pollution of the oceans so that a series of solutions can be geared up specially for them. However, what’s left once we cast off?
“All I’d like say, though it might sound like advertising… is thank you, thank you very much Race For Water”, says Soazig Lemoine, marine ecotoxicology researcher at the University of the West Indies in Guadeloupe. Following an initial meeting in September with the arrival of scientists from the Ephemare study project, the latter helped the teams from France and Italy by offering them storage space in her laboratories. Furthermore, with her extensive knowledge of the marine environment in Guadeloupe, the scientist came aboard the vessel to assist the researchers with taking their samples.
In Septembre, scientists come on board to study the plastic pollution impact on marine life
“Without the teams from Bordeaux, I’d have never been able to imagine carrying out a study such as this, as I don’t have the necessary human resources. Here, I’m the only scientist to be working on the contamination of organisms through marine pollutants”, explains Soazig. Touched by this encounter, she’s keen to continue the collaboration and is looking forward to the results of the study. “I hope that once the studies are published, I’ll be able to invite the Ephemare team to Pointe-à-Pitre to give us the results on Guadeloupe and its inhabitants.” Indeed, still in regular contact with the ecotoxicology team from Bordeaux, the two entities both seem to want to continue their collaboration in order to get a better understanding of the impact of pollution and plastics in Guadeloupe.
Philippe Wattiau, head of the sustainable development and environmental assessment mission at the DEAL, having organised a workshop on the circular economy aboard the vessel, believes “the approach adopted by the Foundation, by playing host to the public aboard the boat, by raising awareness among youngsters, as well as by highlighting the fact that solutions exist, is very relevant”. Working in the same way, the latter wished to use the vessel as a hospitality space in order to gather together multiple local actors. “My goal is to create synergies between them and successfully carry out practical projects based on models from a circular economy.” It’s a concept that maximises the available resources by considering waste to be other peoples’ raw material. “That’s exactly what Race For Water is considering”, says Philippe Wattiau.
Philippe Wattiau workshop’s on board
By way of an example, there is a project in the pipeline right now for a laundry in the Jarry industrial zone in Pointe-à-Pitre, which the DEAL has put in touch with a neighbouring cement works. Requiring high levels of heat, the laundry will be able to benefit from the heat emitted en masse by the cement works, resulting in a collaboration that has interesting environmental and economic benefits for both entities. “Marco Simeoni has shown real strength. I have great admiration for this man, whose convictions make you stand up and take action. In my own way, I’m trying to do the best I can. He’s a man who’s grasped the fact that it’s impossible to develop oneself to the detriment of others and that we cannot live with unhappy people around us”, concludes Philippe Wattiau.
The Race For Water Team thanks you
Galvanised by such testimonies, the Race For Water Odyssey teams are more motivated than ever. Indeed, it is in collaboration with local protagonists, through the strength of one’s conviction and each person’s desire to take action, that it will be possible to combat plastic pollution of the oceans. Many thanks to you.
 Directorate for Environment, Development and Housing