Activist swims New York's most polluted canal

"It’s just like swimming through a dirty diaper," Christopher Swain said after swimming Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal.

By Ben Hooper
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NEW YORK, April 23 (UPI) -- A clean water activist celebrated Earth Day with a swim through one of New York's most notoriously polluted canals and said the water tasted like "poop," among other things.

Christopher Swain, a clean water advocate, had intended to swim 1.8 miles through the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn Wednesday, but he ended his swim after only a few blocks at the request of New York Police Department officers who said there were storms coming into the area.


Swain donned a yellow dry suit, earplugs, a water cap, goggles and water barrier cream for his face before entering the water and he rinsed his mouth out with hydrogen peroxide at the end of his swim.

"The water was 50 degrees, and it tasted like mud, poop, ground-up grass, detergent, gasoline," Swain said after emerging from the water. "It's just like swimming through a dirty diaper."

Swain sad he wanted to draw attention to the pollution in Gowanus Canal in the hopes it could one day be clean enough to swim in without safety gear.

"What's crazy is that the most polluted waterway in the United States of America is in United States of America [and] in its greatest city -- New York City," he said. "It's time that we accelerate this cleanup."


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