From March through April 2023 Yvaya Farm CEO, Yvette Tetteh, is swimming 450km down the Volta River as part of the Agbetsi Living Water research and environmental expedition. The river has been a lifeline for generations, however, like most ecosystems, the Volta River is increasingly exposed to global contaminants, including synthetic microfibers. These microfibers originate from atmospheric deposition or from local human activities—namely wearing, washing, and drying clothes. Much remains unknown about these microfibers, so a good place to start is in mapping and understanding their abundance and potential source.
The Agbetsi expedition sets out to build on existing research about the ecotoxicological impacts of secondhand clothing waste on the environment. This research, which is carried out by The Or Foundation, an organization that works at the intersection of environmental justice, education, and fashion development to identify and manifest responsible alternatives to dominant business models, includes how pollution from clothing consumption is felt in communities and ecosystems throughout Ghana—especially in Accra where tons of foreign textile waste inundate communities.
To power 4-5 hours of swimming per day, Yvette is munching on dried banana every chance she gets !
"Honestly, I don't have any fancy supplements or gels. Every 20 mins of swimming, I just make sure to eat a handful of dried banana. It's perfect."
The expedition crew is living and working on a fully solar-powered research vessel named "The Woman Who Does Not Fear". Catch a TV segment on the expedition here.