Creating Awareness and Inspiring Solutions at Another UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Swim Against Plastic (visit official website HERE) is an environmental movement and campaign that focuses on swimming and a social approach to the problem of plastic pollution. We are looking to open the eyes of the world to this crisis. We want to change the discourse and focus it, so that people can identify with this problem from a positive perspective. The first swim took place on Rapa Nui, where endurance swimmer Sarah Ferguson set a world record. She became the first person to swim the entire perimeter of the island, non-stop. Rapa Nui is one of the most remote places on the planet, and yet the one of the most affected by plastic pollution and microplastics.
For the second swim, we decided to focus on the iconic Riviera Maya, which is also greatly impacted by plastic pollution from the ocean and garbage generated by global tourism. This swim has been made possible through the Reinserta organization, represented by Saskia Niño de Rivero, and Plastic Oceans Mexico, represented by Arturo Islas Allende, a top Mexican environmental influencer.
This event is different from the Rapa Nui swim, as we have decided to make a new record with not one, but three Mexican swimmers. We want everyone to identify with the personalities that will make this incredible effort. Through their strokes they will raise their voices and inspire a change of behavior in locals and tourists regarding plastic pollution. These three swimmers will complete the 120 km route in two days, swimming 40 km each, without a break. Their mission is to raise awareness about this crisis of plastic pollution we all face. The swim will start in the fishing village of Punta Allen and end in Playa del Carmen.
Punta Allen was chosen as the starting point as it is the most accessible stretch of the Riviera Maya where there is a port from which we can follow the swimmers by boat. From Punta Allen, the swimmers will pass through the Sian Ka’an area, then through the Tulum ruins and reach Playa del Carmen. It is worth mentioning that this area was also chosen because the name of Tulum and Playa del Carmen are recognized internationally and our goal is to bring global attention to an area which people can relate to.
In addition to the swimmers’ record attempt, a series of events are also planned to accompany this cause.
One of our strongest projects in the education sector is our Rethink. Refill. campaign. This is a campaign that allows children and young people to be part of the solution to reduce single-use plastic waste by providing their school or community with a water refilling station and reusable water bottles. On November 7, we will implement this program in two communities that do not have access to drinking water in the Sian Ka’an area: Chumpón and Tres Reyes. We are aiming to encourage the community to Rethink and Refill instead of consuming bottled water or soda. Our intention is to leave a seed of change in those communities.
On November 8, we will be doing a beach cleanup in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere from kilometer 18 to 20. It is sad to think that so many hands are needed to clean an area that is considered a protected natural area. However, it’s necessary because the coasts are highly contaminated by plastic waste. Just because we often do not see the effects of plastic pollution in our lives, it does not mean that it is not present and that it is not causing damage to our oceans and freshwater. Let’s not wait to see it, let’s not wait for changes to be irreversible. That’s why this cleanup, in collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger, and more than 60 local volunteers, seeks to raise awareness and to inspire a reduction in the consumption of plastic materials, and amend the affected area.
We ask you to follow the event closely as well as the great team that is organizing all of the events mentioned above. We need more voices pushing these kinds of initiatives, we need to take this message go further and start acting for the betterment of our planet.
Let us inspire you to change. Let us inspire you to care.