Climate Action

Lewis Pugh completes English Channel swim to raise awareness of ocean pollution

The swimmer has completed his gruelling 348 mile stretch across the English Channel for a sustainable cause.

  • 29 August 2018
  • Rachel Cooper

The swimmer has completed his gruelling 348 mile stretch across the English Channel for a sustainable cause.  

His campaign, called the Long Swim, aims to raise awareness of the threat to UK coastal waters from pollution. He has proposed a target of protecting 10 per cent of the 750,000 square kilometres of British coastal waters by 2020. His second, more ambitious, target is to fully protect 30 per cent of all oceans by 2030.

Lewis, a British-South African swimmer and a former event speaker at Climate Action’s 8th Sustainable Forum, said: “I’m undertaking my toughest swim yet, so that I can call on the British Government, and all of the governments of the world, to strengthen our ocean protection. Because doing the right thing has to start at home.”

He began the challenge on the 12th July and he finished the swim today, saying he was “relieved and exhilarated” to be finished.

Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, called Lewis a “brilliant champion for marine conservation zones.”

Mr Pugh has completed several tasks to raise awareness of clean oceans. He said: “I began swimming in vulnerable ecosystems to draw attention to the impact of our actions on the oceans. I saw enormous chunks of ice slide off Arctic glaciers. I swam over bleached coral killed by rising sea temperatures, and over the bones of whales hunted to the edge of extinction.”

Each year billions of tonnes of litter end up in our oceans and it is considerably more than the 250 million tonnes of rubbish generated.

Lewis took to Twitter after the swim was complete, he said: “I’ve just touched Dover harbour wall. That’s the end. 530kms in 49 days. I’ve done my bit, now it’s time for Government to do theirs. #TheLongSwim.”

To find out more about Lewis’ story click here.