Christopher Swain is a brave man with a big message that he wants to get across, and he’ll do just about anything to make it. Swain swam the waters of the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn in an attempt to raise awareness for the need to clean up and better regulate the polluted runoff.
To say that the water is polluted is an understatement. Not only are there many varieties of cancer-causing chemicals to be found in the canal, but everything from sewage, grease and oils, floating trash and even venereal diseases have been found in the water.
This is the second time Swain has made the 1.8-mile swim.
Thankfully the 47-year—old Boston native has yet to contract anything from the disgusting waters, but that doesn’t mean it was an enjoyable swim for him. Swain had to wear a special protective suit. It covered his body, but did nothing to shield his mouth from splash-back.
He describe the filthy conditions of the water:
“There’s some floating trash. There was some brown scum. There’s some foam from the emulsified oils and grease and stuff that’s in the water. So it’s pretty disgusting. And there’s of course the different tastes—like you can taste metal, and you can taste gas, and you can taste detergents.”
A safety team was on hand to monitor his swim.
Swain said he wants to raise awareness for the water pollution problem, and said he feels the EPA hasn’t made enough effort to clean up the Gowanus Canal.
He said that scooping up the trash and pollutants just isn’t enough. “You still need to protect the water,” he said.
Apparently Swain also used his swim to document the filth of the canal, information he can share with local schools to teach students.
Watch the report of his swim in the video above.