Merton resident ready to row Pacific Ocean in aid of environmental issues

A campaigner from Wimbledon will row across the Pacific Ocean in June to raise awareness of plastic pollution.

Emma Rogers will row 2,400-miles from California to Hawaii in the Great Pacific Race on Saturday 2 June to raise awareness of plastic pollution in our oceans.

A Community Champion at environmental charity Sustainable Merton, Emma has been campaigning to make Wimbledon and Merton plastic-free.

Emma, 28, will be rowing in a quad with three other women and, as well as raising awareness of plastic pollution, the crew is aiming to be the fastest and youngest to ever row the route – the youngest member of the crew is 22.

On the impact of plastic pollution, Emma said: “It’s shocking how much plastic you walk past and just don’t notice anymore. Rowing on the Thames is disgusting.

“We’re so used to it that we don’t really care anymore.

“I just want people to look at what’s in their bin and think about what they’re using – it’s the really little actions that add up to big results.”

Emma, an accountant, will row through the North Pacific Gyre – a plastic vortex in the Pacific Ocean made up of invisible micro-plastics five times the size of North Korea – and hopes that racing through the gyre will raise the public’s awareness of it.

She said: “This particular race appealed because we’ll be rowing through the North Pacific Gyre, if we can race through it and bring a human story to plastic pollution at the same time then that’s the dream.”

“No one knows much about it so if we can take samples and find out more about it then that’s fantastic.”

Emma, who says she has always been an outdoorsy person, is most looking forward to the wildlife and the stars en route.

She says that Blue Planet’s shocking footage of a pilot whale carrying its dead calf, which likely died due to chemical pollutants caused by plastic contaminating its mother’s milk, will spur her on during challenging moments.

Between them the quad will be rowing 24-hours a day for 50 days in two-hour shifts.

Community champions project manager Sandy McClure said: “Emma has been instrumental to our campaign #plasticfreemerton and is using the inspirational journey that she’s going on to encourage others to follow.”

“People think – if she’s putting in all this effort to save our oceans and reduce single-use plastic, then actually I should be doing something about this too.”

“A local person going out there and testing herself to the limit for the greater good. People identify with that. It’s very impressive.”

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