Sarah Ferguson, a former national swimmer for South Africa and founder of Breathe Conservation, will attempt to set a world record to become the first person ever to swim the entire perimeter of Easter Island. Her journey will cover more than 40 miles (65 kilometers) through cold water and dangerous currents, and the swim is estimated to take up to 24 hours to complete.
“This is a huge challenge, but my passion for ocean protection and rehabilitation is a strong driving force that fuels this dream,” said Sarah Ferguson, founder of Breathe Conservation. “It is our responsibility to protect the ocean, and I’m proud to partner with Plastic Oceans International on this campaign to fight the problem of plastic pollution.”
Located in the South Pacific Ocean between Chile and New Zealand, Easter Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site on Chilean territory that is considered the most remote inhabited island on the planet. The waters surrounding the island contain one of the highest concentrations of microplastics in the world, most of which originates from sources thousands of miles away. In addition, 20 tons of trash is produced daily on the island, so waste management issues, especially related to the growing tourism industry, are prevalent.
Plastic Oceans International and Breathe Conservation, two global nonprofit organizations dedicated to solving the plastic pollution problem devised Swim Against Plastic: Easter Island, a campaign to raise awareness about plastic pollution with a world-record swim, education and beach cleanups on Easter Island in March.
Swim Against Plastic: Easter Island includes a series of beach cleanups to help restore Easter Island’s fragile environment. Plastic Oceans and Breathe Conservation are organizing the events with the island’s local communities and nonprofit organizations, encouraging all residents to participate.
“The planet needs leaders to draw attention to the serious global plastic pollution problem worldwide—threatening the ocean, our food sources and the environment—to understand the dangers of and change how we think about and use plastic,” said Julie Andersen, Global Executive Director, Plastic Oceans International. “By showing the world that our most valued and remote locations are not immune to plastic pollution, our goal is to inspire people to find solutions and eliminate the use of single-use plastics that attribute to the problem.”
Plastic Oceans and local residents will conduct a series of programs to determine the specific causes contributing to plastic pollution on Easter Island. Once the roots of pollution are targeted, they will work jointly to find solutions. Results and ways to prevent plastic pollution will be shared throughout local communities, with students and schools, charitable organizations, government officials and businesses.
Anyone can join Swim Against Plastic: Easter Island to get informed, inspired and make changes to solve plastic pollution. Follow the progress of Sarah Ferguson’s world record-breaking swim using #SwimAgainstPlastic. Campaign information is available online at SwimAgainstPlastic.com.
About Plastic Oceans International
Plastic Oceans International is a nonprofit organization with a goal to change the world’s attitude toward plastic within a generation. Serving the ocean and the public, Plastic Oceans engages people of all ages and social situations to build awareness about the dangerous perception that single-use plastic is disposable, and foster solutions that prevent plastic from entering the environment. Plastic Oceans uses inspirational and solutions-focused film and media, paired with supportive activism, to promote a global movement to rethink plastic. Learn more atplasticoceans.org.
About Breathe Conservation
Breathe Conservation is a nonprofit organization that believes in a plastic-free ocean. We aspire to be pioneers by aiming high and eliminating—rather than reducing—plastic pollution in the ocean and the world around us. Founded by Sarah Ferguson, a former national swimmer for South Africa who is passionate about safeguarding the ocean for future generations, Breathe organizes swims and educates people about our oceans and plastic pollution. We’re focused on tackling culprits—like straws, coffee cups, plastic bags and sucker sticks—and promoting responsiveness in addressing throwaway, or single-use plastic. The idea is to respond in the moment, where you can, to stop plastic pollution—no matter how small the effort may seem. Breathe inspires and encourages all people to walk as if they are kissing the earth with their feet. These wise words from Thich Nhat Hanh are a powerful mantra that unpacks our message to live deeply and tread lightly. Learn more at breatheconservation.org.