Yvette Tetteh completes historic 450km swimming journey across Volta River

Ghanaian-British agribusiness entrepreneur, athlete, and activist Yvette Tetteh became the first person to swim across the Volta River from Buipe to Ada, completing the longest documented swim in Ghanaian history, covering 450 kilometers.

A colourful parade of drummers and dancers marched down the riverbanks to commemorate Yvette’s and the local communities’ extraordinary achievements.

Yvette, a 30-year-old athlete and environmental activist, embarked on this tough journey as part of an expedition organized by The Or Foundation.

Yvette, a 30-year-old athlete and environmental advocate, set out on this difficult journey as part of an expedition organized by The Or Foundation. The trip, accompanied by the research vessel “The Woman Who Does Not Fear,” sought to undertake a comprehensive study on microfiber pollution generated by textile waste and raise awareness about the impact of waste colonization on the region’s ecosystems.

Yvette’s remarkable feat was well embraced by the crowd that gathered in Ada to witness the completion of the journey

While the expedition potentially marks the longest distance kayaked it also showcased the first-ever deployment of a solar-powered research vessel in Ghana and groundbreaking scientific research conducted on water quality in the Volta River System and Accra.

According to Yvette, the final leg presented a formidable upstream current caused by the Gulf of Guinea at the Ada estuary. However, her unwavering perseverance led her to triumph, reaching the resort where a joyous celebration awaited her.

The expedition began on March 7th, with the launch of a locally built aluminum research vessel. Yvette and her team, the Swim Team, navigated the Black Volta and Volta Lake, stopping in towns and villages to observe the effects of rising waters and connect with local communities. Despite choppy waters and slow progress, their determination and teamwork prevailed throughout the journey.

The chief, community leaders, and ecstatic spectators hailed Yvette as she emerged from the ocean in her custom-made recycled swimsuit. The festive mood allowed Yvette and her colleagues to show appreciation while also fielding questions from community members and local and international journalists. The backdrop of the solar-powered research vessel represented The Or Foundation’s dedication to preventing water pollution by measuring its breadth along Accra’s coast.

Yvette’s safety in the water was secured by a kayaker during the mission, while expedition documentarian Ofoe Amegavie and Science Lead/Communications Manager Edwin Dzobo, who were both crucial in the kayak tasks.

The expedition builds upon The Or Foundation’s year and a half of scientific research into the environmental impact of secondhand clothing waste in Ghana, which receives a staggering 15 million items of used clothing every week.

By shedding light on the consequences of textile waste, the foundation aims to address the significant environmental and social repercussions faced by the country, including overflowing volumes of clothing waste that led to the explosion of the only engineered landfill in 2019.

The Agbetsi Living Water Swim expedition focused on investigating the impact of textile waste in Ghana. Through the collection of water and air samples, strict adherence to protocols, and engagement with local communities, valuable data has been gathered. This data will be analyzed and shared in the upcoming months to shed light on the situation.

Source: Frank Appiah

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