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"I am passionate about the condition of our oceans. The enormous amount of plastic waste in our oceans is having a dramatic impact on the environment, the marine life, birds and coral in many parts of the world."
This passion is powering vegan activist David Pennington on an epic mission - running from the US/Mexico border to Vancouver in Canada as part of The Friendly Drifter Ocean Rescue Run initiative, aimed at raising awareness about plastic waste in the oceans and funds for sustainable waste management.
He tells Plant Based News: "Dramatic problems, call for dramatic action. I care deeply about the plant and how our consumption affects all helpless species - this is also why I am a vegan.
"The Ocean Rescue Run is about raising awareness, but it's also a fundraiser to provide education and waste management systems for Raja Ampat - a remote area located off the northwest coast of West PapuaIndonesia - the most marine diverse region on the planet."
Clocking up an impressive 50-60km a day, the veteran runner has completed the equivalent of of 40.5 marathons in 38 days, covering nearly 200 miles in the last five days alone. To make the challenge even tougher, Pennington is wearing a Poseidon - Greek god of the sea - costume.
Pennington, who has recently reached Washington State, started his mission last year but had to halt his journey after 1055 miles because of a staph infection in his foot. He started at the US/Mexico border before pausing in Reedsport.
Having restarted, he is currently on round two of his run, he has covered a massive 1,255 miles
"My hope is that we all just pause and consider the plastics we use, how we use and dispose of them,"he says.
"From plastic bags, straws and personal goods to packaging, bottles and household items, it's best to support companies that provide a plastics alternative and consider our purchases from companies that don't.
"It's so important to recycle the plastics we do use! We can encourage industry to make change, innovate, use recycled - social plastics, and create a 'collections' economy - all big ideas that the Ocean Rescue Run supports.
"I am averaging more than 30 miles per day and other than normal muscle aches and tired feet, I am feeling great."
By the time Pennington reaches his final destination of Vancouver, Canada, he will have covered more than 1,550 miles.
According to the athlete, the running route was chosen to connect communities, remove international boundaries and bring attention to global issues surrounding plastic waste in our oceans. The run is the first awareness and fundraising campaign to supply Raja Ampat, Indonesia with much needed waste management solutions.
There are logistical challenges in removing plastic waste from the region; it is complex and expensive.
After Pennington organized beach clean-ups in Raja Ampat during the spring of 2015, it became all too apparent to him that clean-up efforts were only going to be effective if there was easy access to recycling methods; currently none exist.
He says: "After realizing the difficulties facing the area, developing proper waste management solutions and educating the public is the necessary next step - doing nothing, is not an option.”
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