The Global Sports Week Social Booster Program

No Butts: Turning the Tide on Cigarette Pollution

Photo Credit: Momentum Production

0 Mégot is the story of 4 swimmers who will swim 380 km in the river Seine to inspire people to adopt one simple change: throw their cigarette butts in the trash. Originally postponed due to the pandemic, the 2021 adventure is due to set off on May 30th, on the eve of World No Tobacco Day, and arrive in Deauville on June 5th, World Oceans Day.

As one of the projects selected for the inaugural 2020 Global Sports Week Booster Program, the 0 Mégot team received strategic support from 17 Sport to help boost their impact. A magnificent example of how sport, business and purpose can unite to create real social impact, this is their story.

Let’s start with your Purpose story: how did this important issue take your attention? Why use sport in your campaign?

Cigarette butt pollution quickly took our attention because it’s very visible in our streets, and most importantly, it is the“single greatest source of ocean trash”. There are very simple actions we can all take to reduce this impact, and unique sporting challenges are great platforms to advocate for change. For our campaign, linking the swim to an important environmental issue was hugely important.

In 2020, you took part in the inaugural Global Sports Week Social Booster Program. What was your experience?

Being selected for the Social Booster was when we decided to launch our project. At the beginning of 2020, we had a huge task in front of us to develop our logistical, commercial and communications plans. The support of 17 Sport within the Global Sports Week Booster Program was a real help for us to structure our approach and ideas. Also, the 2020 Global Sports Week was a wonderful occasion for us to meet and speak with potential partners.

With Covid-19 restrictions, are you set for your May swim?

The Covid restrictions have unfortunately forced us, like everyone, to constantly adapt, but we hope to swim on May 30th. In March, we were able to safely reunite the team on the boat to test out certain aspects of the project. We practiced navigating at night, passing through locks, filming, learning to handle first aid situations, logistical organisations, and nutrition. The most important learning is that the whole team got along very well - and that will be key when spending a week all together on the boat!

How is the training going? 380km is a monster swim!

With most of the swimming pools in France closed, we had to rethink our training strategy this year to adapt and maintain our fitness levels. We have been able to swim a few times a week, as well as long runs and home fitness sessions. We are very conscious of the level of physical endurance that will be necessary for our swim, but we are also working towards mental preparation. The last key element is nutrition and so we are working with a nutritionist to help us best prepare.

Your 2021 plans are peaking around your swim event on May 30th; what does the rest of 2021 look like for 0 Mégot?

A holiday first we hope! We have planned a few milestones in the year to help us continue to raise awareness about cigarette butt pollution. Firstly, we are working with Momentum Production to create a documentary about the adventure. Sharing this documentary will be a great way to continue having an impact. We have set up a few conferences for our partners and in schools. Finally, we are organizing a large clean up of cigarette butts in Paris on Saturday May 29th, in collaboration with Surfrider Paris. The butts collected will be recycled by the company Eco Megot.

What has the reaction been to your campaign so far?

We are lucky to have shared our projects with lots of people around us. We have had nothing but positive feedback on the sporting aspect as well as on the environmental mission. We want to share a message of hope to act and to keep acting at an individual level. Our young age, activism and spontaneous nature are strong forces for this adventure.

If someone wants to join the movement, how can they support?

In collaboration with Surfrider Paris, we are organising, before our departure on Saturday May 29th , a big clean up of cigarette butts in various locations around Paris. All the necessary information can be found on our website if you wish to participate. We will also launch a #FillTheBottle challenge on social media, so don’t hesitate to join us @0mégot! Otherwise, we invite you to follow our swim journey - and of course, to drop your cigarette butts in the trash!

The 17 Sport team wish the swimming activists at 0 Mégot the best of luck in this endurance environmental adventure! Learn more about the 2021 Global Sports Week Booster Program here and here.

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