A free mobile app designed to enable scuba divers to report levels of marine debris around the world has been developed by Project AWARE.
The environmental organisation reckons that divers are increasingly in the vanguard of “citizen-scientists” helping academic bodies to map the scale and extent of marine litter.
After a dive, participating divers can use the app to report debris items removed along with the diving conditions and any photos, while their phone’s inbuilt geo-location records the dive-site’s position.
The app stores the data as a draft until a signal is available to transmit it, and the report becomes part of a global dataset intended to help drive long-term change. Divers are also encouraged to report debris-free dive-sites.
The app is designed to support Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris underwater survey, which began in 2011. This is intended to help governments meet Global Partnership on Marine Litter objectives to protect human health and the environment.
“For many people, marine debris is a problem that’s out-of-sight, out-of-mind once it enters the marine environment,” says Project AWARE’s Global Operations Director Danna Moore. “This is mainly because 70% of marine debris that enters the ocean sinks to the seafloor.
“That’s why scuba-divers are so critical to this movement – they have the unique ability to bring to the surface what’s going on beneath the waves.
“This app is going to make a huge difference in gathering critically needed data to reveal the extent of the global marine-debris crisis for scientists and help conservationists to advocate for change. There is a tide of debris suffocating the ocean. We have to reverse it.”
The app is available now for iOS and Android devices from the App Store or Google Play. More information about Dive Against Debris is available here
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