A 51-year-old French-born adventurer began an attempt to swim across the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday, saying his endurance odyssey is also intended to focus world attention on environmental challenges, like the plastics that are contaminating the world’s oceans.
Benôit “Ben” Lecomte entered the water in Choshi, Japan, aiming to reach San Francisco about six months from now, after a swim estimated at 5,500 miles.
Lecomte said he is undertaking the expedition as a kind of existential challenge and to help publicize threats like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch — the vast expanse of man-made pollution that fouls that ocean. A website for the journey called the Longest Swimpromises groundbreaking studies into the health of phytoplankton, the impact of radioactive fallout from the Fukushima nuclear accident, and the results of sea life making a home on plastic debris.
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