A 52-year-old man is swimming through the Pacific Garbage Patch. He's caught disgusting trash, including a toothbrush and a toilet seat.
- Swimmer Ben Lecomte is making his way through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch right now. He's kicked through 371 miles of trash.
- The garbage patch is essentially a vortex of plastic trash in the ocean between Hawaii and California. It's bigger than two Texases.
- Lecomte spoke with Business Insider from his boat and said "the most disgusting thing is the amount of microplastic that we capture in our nets every day."
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Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, swimmer Ben Lecomte is kicking through trash.
Lecomte swam across the Atlantic Ocean - from the US to France - in 1998, and he tried to become the first person to swim across the Pacific last year, traveling 1,753 miles before calling it quits.This year, he decided to plow through a swirling vortex of garbage between Hawaii and California known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
"I'm not trying to go for any record," Lecomte told Business Insider from the sailboat that's following him as he swims. "It's a unique opportunity to show exactly what is under the surface."
The human race dumps about 8 million pounds of plastic trash into the oceans every year. For context, the average 16.9-ounce bottle of water weighs less than 13 grams, so there are at least 35 water bottles in a pound of trash. But of course, bottles are not the only litter in the sea: there are abandoned fishing nets, laundry baskets, toilet seats, toothbrushes, and much more.
Currents sweep up a lot of this plastic and carry it to a handful of locations in the ocean. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the most well known of these trash vortices - it's double the size of Texas and now holds 79,000 tons of trash.
That's what Lecomte is swimming through. He wants the effort to bring more awareness to the issue of plastic consumption and show people what the garbage patch really looks like.
"I want to share what it is through swimming and bring people with me," he said.Here's what Lecomte's journey has looked like so far.