Swimming Against The Plastic Tide

Swimming Against The Plastic Tide

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

In the remote Indonesian islands of Gili and in the national marine park in northern Bali, man’s encroachment on our marine environment is ever so evident.  The beautifully clear tropical waters are polluted with the remnants of modern society.  Open Water Source is working with Project Kaisei to help rally the open water swimming community to do what we can to make a difference.

I was swimming between two islands in Lombok on New Year’s in some good chop and currents.  

Far away from mass civilization, this should have been a beautiful swim, but halfway in the channel, I hit an aquatic dose of our continued consumerism and lack of thought after we have enjoyed our moments of disposable conveniences,” recalled Doug Woodring, the founder of Project Kaisei. 

In the middle of the Lombok Strait between the Indian Ocean and the Java Sea, I swam into plastic against my face, my arms and my legsWhat we are doing to our world?  This garbage does not go away.  When it hits the ocean, only 30% of it floats.  The other 70% goes to the bottom where we have no daily reminder of its build-up.

In every case, our plastic wrappers, bottles and trash interact negatively with marine life, but they have no voice in the matter, nor any body count to tally when they succumb to it in the open seas.  As open water swimmers, we can play a huge role as ambassadors to helping make reductions in our plastic footprint.” 

Doug’s leadership role in this environmental push was initiated during a dive in Palau in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  Below the surface of the deep blue ocean, he started picking plastic out of its suspended state, all at different depths.  

At the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative, Project Kaisei introduced the Plastic Disclosure Project.  Similar to annual carbon reporting, it is meant for companies and organizations to conduct yearly audits of their plastic use.  Once there is a baseline of knowledge about how much is used, then groups know where money savings, reductions, better designs, better recycling or new materials can be positively deployed.  This will benefit the company’s operations, its brand loyalty, and its engagement with the community.  For more information, visit the Plastic Disclosure Project

Doug reminds us that as open water swimmers, we can make a huge difference.  “We become leaders in our community.  Event organizers can reduce or eliminate plastic bottles at our events. You can help the ocean by booking all of your hotels on Expedia’s new site – and click on Project Kaisei. We will get 8% of all bookings, at no cost to you.”


Copyright © 2010 by World Open Water Swimming Association