Ardagh Glass Packaging World Ocean Day Swim Media Release

 No: WODS2302

2 May 2023

    Embargo : None

Written By : Tim Whitfield

A swim with a good cause

DURBAN - Record-breaking endurance swimmer, Durban's Sarah Ferguson, is calling on fellow ocean swimmers to join her at the Ardagh Glass Packaging World Oceans Day Swim on June 10 and help the ongoing fight against plastic pollution.

The Ardagh Glass Packaging World Oceans Day Swim takes place from the Durban Beach Club and offers swimmers the option of distances ranging from 800m, through the traditional Mile or 1.6km, up to a testing 3.2km and the even longer 5km distance.

Since retiring from international competition, Ferguson has notched up an impressive list of record-breaking achievements, including the first circumnavigation swim around Easter Island - which earned her a nomination for the 2019 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, and in 2017 she became the first African female to swim the 42 km Kai'wi channel between Oahua and Molokai in Hawaii.

However, Ferguson is also an ardent conservationist, and the Ardagh Glass Packaging World Oceans Day Swim brings her two passions together.

"The primary objective of this event is to get swimmers and the public involved in their love of the sport," said the former South African national team swimmer. "But I hope it will help swimmers realise they need to do something about protecting the ocean, because it has been badly affected by our behaviour.

"There are three major threats to our oceans: Overfishing, climate change and plastic pollution. The reason I focus on plastic pollution is because, when I started this journey, it was not really being spoken about as much as overfishing and climate change.

"And, it is also very easy to do something about pollution, and so it makes it accessible for everyone to do something.

"There are also many other threats, such as sewerage, seismic drilling and drilling for oil, but plastics are so dangerous for so many reasons.

"Obviously there is an eyesore factor for tourism on our beaches. Our beaches are a revenue source for tourism so obviously if there is plastic then nobody is going to want to be there and that has an impact on everyone.

"Also, plastic is known to suffocate sea animals, and sea birds are ingesting plastic and causing them to starve to death. There is also research which shows that birds are getting diseases from the microplastics which are breaking down in their bodies. And plastics have shown to cause quite serious harm to people over time, like cancer and ADHD and plastic traces have been found in our blood, in babies' placentas and it is in our rain ... it is everywhere, and we are only now starting to see the effects of that on us.

"Plastic is such an amazing product because it never disintegrates, but it is also so bad - because it never disintegrates.

"It is full of chemicals and toxins, and it breaks into smaller and smaller pieces and those pieces become micro plastics, and then nano plastics. Those get ingested and get into our soil and water, which then leach the toxins out of the plastics, and the harmful effects of those toxins is only now starting to become well known."

The funds raised by the event will exclusively be used for education programmes and projects run by Breathe, a conservation non-profit organisation registered by Ferguson primarily to educate people about oceans and plastic pollution.

Entries for the Ardagh Glass Packaging World Oceans Day Swim are at and more information about Breathe can be found at


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Ardagh Glass Packaging World Ocean Day Swim logo  
Breathe logo  

The warm Indian Ocean off the Durban coast provides swimmers with perfect conditions for the Ardagh Glass Packaging World Ocean Day Swim on June 10th.
Anthony Grote/
Gameplan Media

Ultra-distance swimmer and conservationist Sarah Ferguson is the driving force behind the Ardagh Glass Packaging World Ocean Day Swim.
Supplied /
Gameplan Media
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