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French swimmer departs from Japan and begins Pacific Ocean crossing attempt

08 June 2018

French marathon swimmer Benoit "Ben" Lecomte prepares himself in Choshi, Chiba prefecture on June 5, 2018 as he takes the start of his attempt of swimming across the Pacific Ocean.

That's the term scientists use to describe billions of pieces of microplastic in the sea.

Off the coast of Japan on Tuesday, 50-year-old Ben Lecomte started a journey unlike any other.

The mapped-out route will take Lecomte through the centre of the infamous Great Pacific garbage patch, or Pacific trash vortex, a giant gyre of marine debris the size of Texas.

Lecomte's plan is to swim for eight hours a day, as well as consume over 8,000 calories.

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More than 27 different scientific organizations, some medical and some oceanographic, will be benefiting from the data gathered during the expedition.

"I break it down into sections during which I relive past events with my family, or I try to picture a city that I have never visited, walk through its streets and visualise people", he said in.

In 1998, Lecomte swam across the Atlantic Ocean, starting in MA and finishing in France, the BBC reported.

"It made me think what [the] future for my kids is going to be like".

The team accompanying Lecomte will collect water samples each day along the way to determine the level of plastic and microplastic pollution.

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"If we are all aware of it then after it is much easier to take action and to change our behaviour because the solution is in our hands".

Organizers say Lecomte completed a similar swim across the Atlantic in 1998.

But Lecomte knows the application of science-and a boat stocked with 2.8 tonnes of food-will only get him so far.

He added: "I try to disassociate my mind from my body and everything that happens to my body - pain or cold, I try to put aside".

"I have a schedule of what I'm going to think about for those eight hours... it's always about keeping my mind occupied".

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French swimmer departs from Japan and begins Pacific Ocean crossing attempt