Drive for more ‘citizen-scientist’ divers
Coinciding with the Great British Beach Clean this weekend, training agency PADI and environmental body Project AWARE have stated their hope that UK divers will get involved with their first international AWARE Week, running from 15-23 September.
Activities will, they say, be focused on tackling ocean pollution, creating awareness for vulnerable shark and ray species, and empowering local communities to take positive action for the protection of fragile marine environments.
13 September 2018
They are also promoting their global Dive Against Debris citizen-science programme and hope to encourage more UK divers to help tackle what they say is a lack of data on ocean pollution.
“I truly believe that as divers we are in an extremely privileged position, as we get to spend time in the magical underwater world, and have an obligation to share what we find, see and experience with the wider population, both the amazing and the upsetting,” said Kerrie Eade, PADI Course Director at Ocean Turtle Diving in Basingstoke.
“Letting them see how much debris we collect on a Dive Against Debris dive, for example, has led to some extremely interesting conversations, engagement and positive action.”
Dive Against Debris was launched in 2011, with more than 50,000 divers from 114 countries taking part since then. This March it reached the milestone of a million items removed from the oceans. In the UK some 29,000 pieces of debris have been logged.
Overall plastic pollution accounts for about 75% of marine debris, according to PADI and Project AWARE, which say that divers of all levels can “play a key role” in preventing, removing and reporting debris in a way that enables decision-makers to adopt more stringent policies on plastics.
They suggest that one way to get involved is by enrolling on a Dive Against Debris Speciality course.