Ben Lecomte swims 300 nautical miles through plastic – the Vortex Swim

Of the many climate problems we have created as humanity, the problem of single-use / disposable plastic and the way plastic has ended up in the world’s water supply and food chain, is perhaps one of the most visible and poignant ones. Images of rivers from discarded plastic bottles in Indonesia, or sea turtles that tangled up in fishing nets come to us almost every day.

A well known “example” of this problem, among others, from the efforts of Dutchman Boyan Slat, is the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” or the “Plastic Vortex” that is located in the area between Hawaii and California in the Pacific Ocean.

The image of a huge floating carpet of plastic debris is not entirely correct, according to Ben Lecomte, a sea swimmer who will swim 300 nautical miles (about 450 kilometers) through this Plastic Vortex.

It is of course also the large pieces of plastic, but especially the smaller debris, ranging to micro plastics the that are the biggest problem; fish digest these plastics, and with that plastic enters a food chain of which we are on the top; eating plastic me one day threw away, or were wearing.

Part of those microplastics are micro-fibers, originating from clothing made from synthetic fabrics, which come loose from the clothing and end up in the worlds’ water during washing, up to 700,000 fibers per full wash, we read on the Vortex Swim project website.

Enough reason for the New Zealand clothing brand Icebreaker to support Ben’s project. Icebreaker has become a significant brand in the outdoor world with their Merino wool base-layer clothing. With their “Move to Natural” platform, they are striving to ban synthetic fibers in their own clothing and thereby also set a good example for the rest of the (outdoor) clothing industry.

The project is not just about attention and awareness. During his swim Ben and his team will take samples from the water and collect data so that researchers can get an even better picture of the situation in this Vortex.

You can find more information and follow Ben and his team at

We wish everyone involved in this great project the best of luck!


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