Sarah Ferguson, founder of Breathe Conservation, teamed up with Plastic Oceans International in an attempt to solve the ever-expanding plastic pollution problem ravaging our planet.
The campaign encourages people to rethink their habits around single-use plastic items. To raise awareness, Ferguson set out to become the first person to swim around the perimeter of Easter Island.
New world record
And did she ever! Setting a new world record in the process despite the hazardous conditions. In conjunction with her epic swim, the documentary Eating Up Easter screened at a community event two days later.
In addition, volunteers arranged beach cleanups to “restore, protect and preserve Easter Island’s fragile environment from severe plastic pollution.”
The Arizona State University will analyse the microplastic samples collected during the cleanup. The first cleanup is scheduled for 16 March at the Viringa O Tuki area’s popular surf spot.
Easter Island is a Chilean territory, located in the South Pacific Ocean between Chile and New Zealand. It is considered the most remote inhabited island on the planet, more than 2 000 miles from the Chilean coast, with the nearest island over 1 200 miles away.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The waters surrounding the island contain one of the highest concentrations of microplastics in the Pacific Ocean, most of which originate from sources thousands of miles away.
Microplastics and larger pieces end up at the South Pacific Gyre, also known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. In simpler terms, it’s a floating island made of plastic.
You may think swimming around the Easter Island is no biggie. May we point out that the risk included hypothermia, sharks, sunburn and exposure to the Portugues man o’ war jellyfish.
That said, Ferguson was well-prepared for the endeavour and arrived at Easter Island on 11 March, two days ahead of the big showdown. She explained that it was a huge challenge, but her “passion for ocean protection and rehabilitation is a strong driving force that fuels the dream.”
Learn more about the Swim Against Plastic: Easter Island Project here
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