Long-distance swimmer who released sea turtle hopes to raise ocean awareness

Published On: May 16 2014 11:28:46 AM EDT
Updated On: May 16 2014 06:58:14 PM EDT

The swimmer says he's trying to raise awareness about a bigger issue on South Florida's beaches

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -

A young sea turtle was released Thursday after months of recovery at the Miami Seaquarium facilities. What made this occasion especially unique was the honored guest who released the animal into the ocean.

Ben Lecomte is a long-distance swimmer and will be attempting to swim from Tokyo to San Francisco for eight hours a day and sleeping on a little boat.

Lecomte traveled to Miami for this special event to help raise ocean awareness.

"As a long-distance swimmer, I've noticed a big difference in the number of plastics floating around," said Lecomte.

He's referring to a giant area in the middle North Pacific Ocean where plastics and human debris end up.

According to National Geographic's website, this massive vortex of plastic and debris is most commonly known as the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch."

"Many plastics, for instance, do not wear down; they simply break into tinier and tinier pieces," National Geographic said.

For now, the day can be celebrated as the turtle makes its way out to the deep, but Lecomte hopes more concern will grow for the future of the oceans.

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