Anti-plastic crusader begins epic 9000km swim across Pacific Ocean

French swimmer Benoit'Ben Lecomte who previously swam solo across the Atlantic in 1998 is facing an epic 5,500-mile solo swim across the Pacific

A French man set off on a daunting excursion Tuesday, hoping to swim six months through a massive pile of garbage and raise awareness of plastic pollution. "But I knew I was going to come back to that project eventually".

He plans to swim eight hours at a time, eating 8,000 calories a day and resting each evening on a support boat.

More than two dozen scientific organisations, medical and oceanographic, will benefit from the data gathered during the expedition.

Lecomte, whose Pacific swim began on World Environment Day, said he was concerned about the harmful effect of plastic pollution on marine ecosystems.

The support boat will have an Global Positioning System tracker, and anyone who wants to follow Lecomte's journey can do so on his website. "Rather than calling it an island of trash, it is more like plastic smog throughout the ocean". "Now, everywhere I go on the beach, I see plastic everywhere".

"It is mind over matter", said Lecomte, who is also an architectural consultant based in Austin, Texas when not in the water.

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"If we are all aware of it then after it is much easier to take action and to change our behaviour because the solution is in our hands".

"To do the physical aspect of it, sure it is hard and all that but what is much more hard is to be in that very hostile environment, to do that days in and days out, to push you and to push your limits, then the mind has to be super strong".

"The challenge is to keep doing the same thing for hour after hour and day after day", 50-year-old Mr Lecomte told The Telegraph before his departure from Choshi Beach, to the north-east of Tokyo.

"When you don't have anything to occupy your mind it goes into kind of a spiral, and that's when trouble starts".

He will face giant waves, sharks and jellyfish, and will also swim through part of the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" in his attempt to be the first to accomplish the feat of swimming across the world's biggest ocean.

'It made me think what (the) future for my kids is going to be like.

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