Activist abandons Earth Day swim in polluted New York City canal

Christopher Swain, a clean-water activist, speaks to the media after swimming in the Gowanus Canal as part of an Earth Day awareness action about pollution in the Brooklyn borough of New YorkBy Sebastien Malo NEW YORK (Reuters) – An environmental activist on Wednesday gave up less than halfway through his attempt to swim the length of a notoriously polluted New York City canal, but not before comparing it to "swimming into a dirty diaper." Christopher Swain, a clean-water activist, cited weather concerns in abandoning his effort to swim Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal, described by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as among the nation's "most extensively contaminated" bodies of water. Years of dumping of pollutants ranging from industrial waste to sewage have contaminated the Gowanus Canal with toxic substances including pesticides, heavy metals and cancer-causing PCBs, according to the EPA. Biology students from the New York City College of Technology reportedly found gonorrhea in a drop of water from the canal, the New York University┬ástudent-run publication Scienceline wrote in 2007. Swain said he was unconcerned about health risks, largely because he was wearing a protective dry suit, gloves, boots, flippers and a swim cap.



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