The dive community in particular is in a unique position to lead this change as essentially, the ocean is our office and if the office lights are out where would we go to work?
Only when we show the world the beauty and wonder (along with the human impact) of our oceans will people learn to care and advocate for our oceans going forward.
Through education and initiatives by the dive community we can encourage everyone all over the world to start making life choices which will positively impact our planet.
The small island of Gili Trawangan in Indonesia did exactly that last month for World Oceans Day 2018. Coming together as a community, raising awareness, educating locals and tourists about ongoing action we can all take, the weekend was a huge success and something which can and should be emulated in the future.
In conjunction with the Gili Eco Trust – an NGO based on Gili Trawangan, many of the small islands dive businesses came together, promoting and running conservation events across the weekend of June 8th/9th. Both the local community (including many of the children), divers, instructors in training, and tourists got involved.
Hosting marine conservation presentations and encouraging divers to complete their PADI Dive Against Debris Specialty course, many divers learned techniques to safely collect the debris and used both the Project AWARE® Dive Against Debris® App and the data card to record and submit the data which is then added to a global map which is available to see here.
Not only did the weekend create many new Dive Against Debris Specialty divers but one of the local Course Director’s who was in the middle of an Instructor Development Course also encouraged the candidates to complete their Dive Against Debris Specialty Instructor rating over the weekend.
All this action on the ground contributes to a global picture enabling us to see what specific items are found in specific locations. This helps identify areas around the world where waste prevention efforts are needed most.
Below is a global snapshot of what is currently being removed and reported to Project AWARE:
When we zoom in on the data provided by members in Indonesia, we find that the top 10 items found underwater in Indonesia based on past surveys are;
- Food Wrappers (plastic),
- Plastic Fragments,
- Bags – Grocery/Retail (plastic),
- Beverage Bottles: less than 2 litres (plastic),
- Bags: Trash (plastic),
- Cups, Plates, Forks, Knives, Spoons (plastic),
- Containers: Fast Food, Lunch Boxes & Similar,
- Cloth Fragments, and
- Paper, Cardboard Fragments.
Of course to encourage participation in events like this (and ensuring they are successful) making learning and participation fun is key! Games are a fantastic way of doing this when you have children involved such as having kids pick which trash goes in which rubbish bin.
Another idea is to show how easy it is to reuse trash – these kids and volunteers were making underwater critters out of recycled plastics and debris – jellyfish and sea turtles were just some of the marine creatures made.
With a global movement underway it is fantastic to see this kind of passion from our valued members out there not only teaching the world to dive but including a message of conservation every step of the way!
A huge shout out to all our members who got involved, not only on World Oceans Day, but who do their bit every single day out there in all corners of the world!
For more information on how to get involved visit the Project AWARE Website or sign up for a conservation focused specialty instructor rating at your local dive centre or resort. Visit the conservation area on PADI.com to learn more about adopting a dive site in your local area.
Don’t forget to also get involved with AWARE Week this 15-23 September 2018.