UNEP oceans advocate Lewis Pugh on epic Hudson swim to spotlight significance of river well being

The 315-mile swim, roughly 507 kilometres, will take him from the river’s supply within the Adirondack Mountains to the place it meets the Atlantic Ocean in New York Metropolis, residence to UN Headquarters.

Mr. Pugh headed for the Hudson on Wednesday and expects to finish the journey shortly earlier than 20 September, when nations will start ratifying the excessive seas treaty, aimed toward defending biodiversity in worldwide waters.

The UN’s 193 Member States adopted the landmark legally binding settlement in June, following practically 20 years of fierce negotiations.

Clear rivers, wholesome planet

“If we would like wholesome oceans we additionally want wholesome rivers — it’s that straightforward,” he stated just lately. “Clear rivers are important within the battle for international sustainability; certainly, our very existence relies on recent water, clear air, and a liveable planet.” 

An completed endurance swimmer, Mr. Pugh has braved among the most difficult environments on Earth, together with the Antarctic, the North Pole, the Crimson Sea, and the Himalayas. 

The UK native was additionally the primary individual to finish a long-distance swim in each ocean of the world. The Hudson River swim is anticipated to take 4 weeks, making it his longest. 

“I particularly selected the Hudson for this swim due to the environmental progress that’s been made on the enduring waterway in recent times,” he stated.  “A lot work continues to be required, however tangible enhancements have been made, setting an instance for restoring rivers world wide.” 

Rocks, rapids and waterfalls 

Mr. Pugh will make the swim unassisted, that means that he’ll solely be carrying a Speedo, cap and goggles.  Compared, assisted swimmers use tools equivalent to a wetsuit, snorkel, gloves, flippers and hand paddles.

His journey of 315 miles will start with small steps on the Hudson River’s supply, Lake Tear of the Clouds, situated excessive within the Adirondack Mountains in northern New York state. Alongside the best way he’ll encounter dramatic topological shifts, highly effective river currents, and probably poisonous sewage runoffs throughout heavy rains.

“The Hudson is actually majestic, however, like most rivers, it begins with a trickle in pretty tough terrain, so this swim will even have to start on foot to barter rocks and really dense vegetation,” he defined. 

“That terrain shortly evolves into white water rapids and waterfalls that demand respect, so my expedition staff and I are finding out each twist and switch of the river keenly.”

Energy, stamina, perseverance

Mr. Pugh stated he’ll hike and run round any rapids that are unswimmable, and the plan is to swim a mean of 10 miles, or 16 km per day, relying on circumstances. 

He can even begin the swim carrying UNEP’s emblem, company chief Inger Andersen wrote on Tuesday on the social media platform X, previously often called Twitter.  Expressing delight, she wished him “power, stamina and perseverance” for the weeks forward.

Mr. Pugh, 53, labored as a maritime lawyer in London earlier than turning into a full-time ocean advocate.  He was appointed UNEP’s first Patron of the Oceans in 2013.

“Refuse, sewage, chemical and plastic waste don’t simply pollute rivers and hurt the species that dwell in them; these contaminants are carried on to the ocean the place they do extra injury,” Ms. Andersen stated just lately.

“Simply as we should preserve our personal arteries unclogged for our well being, we should preserve the planet’s arteries unclogged for its well being.” 

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