Meet the man swimming across the dirtiest part of the ocean

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Ben Lecomte has always loved the water, his love for swimming and passion for the ocean, brought to his attention the cost that plastic was having on our oceans. 10 years later he has transformed his passion into his life mission swimming over 300nm across the dirtiest part of the ocean, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, in a bid to raise awareness for plastic pollution around the globe.

“Playing in the sand when I was a child was a different experience than playing in the sand with my kids, we now always find plastic it doesn’t matter where we are. Marine plastic pollution is an important issue that should not be passed on to the next generation.”

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Launching from Hawaii on June 17th, 2019, so far on the Vortex Swim in partnership with icebreaker, Ben has swum 331nm (235 hours) and counting, through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

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“On one of my favourite days, I was swimming with a pod of whales while in the centre of the garbage patch – sadly, we also had our largest collection of microplastics up to this point on that day. It’s sad to see these creatures swimming through an area of such high concentrations of plastic. The effects are unknown but our contribution to research will hopefully help to understand the current situation.”

300 million tonnes of single-use plastics are produced every year around the world, which rarely are recycled so end up in landfill or in our oceans. One of the biggest problems with plastic is that it degrades into tiny fragments or microplastics in the sun over time. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is one of five patches in the world’s oceans and is approximately 1.6 million square kilometres big or three times the size of France.

You can follow Ben’s journey across the sea on Instagram @icebreakernz @thevortexswim.

Lottie Dalziel is resident sustainability guru for THE F. When she isn’t running her own eco website, Banish, you can find her hiking along NSW’s picturesque coast picking up plastic as she goes.

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