Donna Paysepar got trashed for taking a dive into the formerly filthy Hudson River and posting her stunt to TikTok, but turns out: The Hudson River isn’t as polluted and gross as everyone thought.
One social-media commenter described the 20-year-old Long Islander’s swanner as “a death sentence” and local news pundits hinted that she should be extremely worried about her health, yet two Hudson River experts see it differently. They agree she’s been done dirty — the Hudson River is not radioactive and her plunge went swimmingly.
“We test up and down the Hudson, and where [Donna] dove in” — within eyeshot of Lady Liberty — “it almost always meets the NYC standard for swimming,” Rob Buchanan, coordinator for the Citizens’ Water Quality Testing Program in NYC, told The Post.
Nevertheless, possibly to appease people claiming her Hudson hustle would have dire consequences to her health, Paysepar said she plans on seeing her doctor for a checkup. Buchanan said she needn’t bother.
“What’s a doctor going to do?” Buchanan asked. “He’s going to laugh.”
The water quality expert said that he recently took his daughter swimming in the Hudson and that he’d be more than happy to join Paysepar for a dip — just so long as it’s not right after a storm.
Buchanan said that 2 or more inches of rainfall causes the Hudson to be temporarily sullied with raw sewage.
But Paysepar went swimming over the weekend and not after last Wednesday’s rains, so concern is unwarranted, according to the experts.
“People are terminally uninformed and ready to project something they don’t understand,” Buchanan said, referring to Paysepar’s naysayers. “It’s scientific ignorance.”
John Waldman, professor of biology at Queens College and author of “Heartbeats in the Muck: The History, Sea Life and Environment of New York Harbor,” agreed.
“Being in the Hudson is not problematic; there is a very well-attended race where people swim all around the Hudson,” Waldman said. “The river has been cleaned up and is in decent shape.”
And what about the errant droplets Paysepar swallowed, noting, “It tasted really bad”?
Buchanan and Waldman both pooh-pooh health concerns related to ingesting the water, which, back in the 1960s, would have been loaded with poo-poo.
“Not a big deal,” said the professor. “The Hudson has a terrible reputation, but it’s come a long way.”
So much so that Buchanan expressed no concern for what Paysepar has called her “YOLO mentality.” As he put it, “I’m not worried for her. I’m worried for [the intelligence of] all the people who think she took this giant risk.”
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