“It’s just like swimming through a dirty diaper.”
So there’s this thing in Brooklyn, New York, called the Gowanus Canal.
It’s pretty gross. There are literally gas bubbles rising to the surface from decaying sewage at the bottom.
Recognized as one of the most polluted bodies of water in the United States, it’s labeled as a Superfund site. Which, despite the name, is NOT SUPER and basically means a place is really, really, really ridiculously polluted.
To raise awareness about how dirty the Gowanus is and how much more needs to be done to clean it up, Christopher Swain did the unthinkable and SWAM IT.
Covering his face in Vaseline to repel the toxic water and wearing a hazmat suit, he was accompanied by a kayaker who occasionally offered him hydrogen peroxide to gurgle. Performance-art activism for the environment right in our own backyard!
And it worked!
His stunt is all over the media now and people are being reminded about how polluted the canal is.
The New York Times has some choice quotes:
“I think I’m going to go in here,” Swain said soon after arriving at the canal.
“No, you’re not,” a burly guard said.
“This is not approved,” explained Captain Frank DiGiacomo. “Obviously, he comes out of the water, he’s contaminated. Obviously, the water he’s in is contaminated.