Sarah Ferguson began Swim Against Plastic: Easter Island at 8:07 a.m. local time, launching a global campaign to help end plastic pollution.

Track swim:


South African Endurance Swimmer Launches Campaign to End Plastic Pollution in Current Attempt to be First to Swim Around Easter Island #SwimAgainstPlastic 

World-Record Swim – Education – Beach Cleanups

Eating up Easter film by Island Native, Sergio Mata’u Rapu

March 15, 2019 – MALIBU, Calif., U.S. – Plastic Oceans International and Breathe Conservation, two global nonprofit organizations dedicated to solving the plastic pollution problem, today announced that South African endurance swimmer, Sarah Ferguson. She began Swim Against Plastic around Easter Island at 8:07 a.m. local time, launching a global campaign to help end plastic pollution. Track the swim at

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Easter Island Photos (folder); photo credit: Mara Films / Kartemquin Films

The goal is to encourage people to rethink their habits toward single-use, or throwaway plastic, and empower them to change and become part of the solution. 

Swim Against Plastic: Easter Island is exploring how local plastic pollution is impacted on a micro level. Therefore by exponentially growing tourism, increased population, commercial fishing, and waste management.  All the while providing a model to translate to a macro level for global application.

Swim Against Plastic: Easter Island includes: 

South African endurance swimmer, Sarah Ferguson, is becoming the first person ever to swim the entire perimeter of Easter Island. Thereby possibly setting a new world record. 

Despite very risky conditions, the Breathe Conservation founder, Plastic Oceans International Ambassador and retired South African national swimmer, is making this journey because of her commitment to raise awareness about  plastic pollution.

Education forums with residents will address the island’s plastic pollution. The Easter Island premiere of Eating up Easter, a documentary film produced and directed by island native, Sergio Mata’u Rapu. It screened March 15, 7:30 p.m. at Toki Rapa Nui during a free community event: Eating Up Easter Film Screening.

Beach cleanups are being organized locally to restore, protect, and preserve Easter Island’s fragile environment from severe plastic pollution. Microplastics samples will be collected and later analyzed by Arizona State University. The first scheduled cleanup was March 16, 8.30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Viringa o Tuki area, a well-known local surf spot, hosted by Te Mau o te Vaikava and Plastic Oceans. 

First of all, Sarah Ferguson’s Swim Against Plastic is a journey around Easter Island’s perimeter that will cover more than 40 miles (65 kilometers) through cold water and dangerous currents.

Most importantly, the  swim is estimated to take up to 24 hours to complete. Despite very risky conditions, Sarah is making this journey because of her commitment. Commitment to raise awareness to help end plastic pollution.

Risks include: chafing from friction between skin and bathing suit during approximately 24-hour swim; eating every 30 minutes, as food in a container is thrown into the water to access and consume, all while continuing to swim without stopping; getting caught in currents that prevent progress to advance distance, increase journey length and require additional physical output; hypothermia; jellyfish, and specifically the Portuguese man o’ war; saltwater exposure; sharks; and sunburn.

Likewise, Sarah has trained extensively in preparation for Swim Against Plastic: Easter Island. She arrived on the island March 11 from South Africa. The swim date range was projected for March 13-20. All depending on weather and conditions. A March 13 start was delayed after wind conditions changed. Watch why Sarah swims: Video: The Determination of Sarah Ferguson.

Easter Island is a Chilean territory, located in the South Pacific Ocean between Chile and New Zealand. It is considered the most remote inhabited island on the planet, more than 2,000 miles from the Chilean coast, with the nearest island over 1,200 miles away.

The waters surrounding the island contain one of the highest concentrations of microplastics in the Pacific Ocean, most of which originate from sources thousands of miles away. Microplastics and larger pieces of plastic to the island from the South Pacific Gyre.

In conclusion, an additional 20 tons of trash is produced daily on Easter Island. This which has prevalent waste management issues, especially related to the exponentially growing tourism industry and increasing population. Chile recently implemented new rules to limit access and tourism on Easter Island to protect the culture and environment. 

Rapa Nui, the island’s indigenous name, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is well known for the unique cultural phenomenon of shrines and enormous stone figures, called moai, built between the 10th and 16th centuries by the society of Polynesian origin, which settled on the island circa 300 A.D.

The premiere of Eating up Easter—a documentary film produced and directed by island native, Sergio Mata’u Rapu—will be screened as part of Swim Against Plastic March 15, 7:30 p.m. at Toki Rapa Nui during a free community event. View the invitation: Eating Up Easter Film Screening.

In a cinematic letter to his son, native Rapanui (Easter Island) filmmaker, Sergio Mata’u Rapu, explores the modern dilemma of their people who risk losing everything to the globalizing effects of tourism. So the film follows four islanders. All descendants of the ancient statue builders. Those who are working to tackle the consequences of their rapidly developing home. Mama Piru leads recycling efforts to reduce trash.  Mahani and Enrique use music to reunite their divided community, and Sergio tries to understand the motivations of his father who embraces the advantages of building new businesses.

These stories intertwine to reveal the complexities of development and the contradictions within us all as we are faced with hard choices about our planet’s future. Learn more about Eating Up Easter at

People encouraged to join Swim Against Plastic to get informed, inspired and make changes to end plastic pollution. Follow the campaign and swim progress using #SwimAgainstPlastic. Learn more at

Swim Against Plastic is presented by Footprint, and in partnership with Crowd, Hotel Hotu Matua, and Toki Rapa Nui.

Source: Plastic Oceans International