Environmental body The Ocean Cleanup has linked up with PADI and the new PADI AWARE Foundation in a bid to tackle ocean plastics pollution on a wide scale.
The three organisations want to involve divers in what PADI calls “one of the most ambitious citizen-science projects ever taken on by the dive community”.
The Ocean Cleanup made headlines when it was founded by then-18-year-old inventor Boyan Slat in the Netherlands in 2013. It now employs nearly 100 engineers and researchers engaged in a two-pronged assault on plastics pollution.
Its initial plan was to develop large-scale technological systems able to compact and collect plastics already accumulated in the ocean, recycling this material into durable products to fund continuing operations.
In 2019, the organisation launched the other half of its strategy with its Interceptors, aiming to use these to extract 80% of surface plastics from the world’s 1000 most polluting rivers before it could even reach the ocean. theoceancleanup.com
“We’re excited to be working together with the world’s leading diving organisation,” said Dan Leahy, The Ocean Cleanup’s chief development officer. “Their passion for clean oceans creates a natural fit between our organisations, and I’m delighted we can scale our data and research capability through their dedicated community of divers.”
“By combining the ingenuity of The Ocean Cleanup’s Interceptors, which remove floating plastic, with the passion and perspective of the global dive community working to save the ocean below the surface through citizen science, this monumental partnership is poised to inform waste-management solutions that will significantly reduce marine debris from the surface to the sea floor,” said PADI president and CEO Drew Richardson.
“The success of preventative and lasting solutions on a global scale will only be possible through local community engagement.”
The idea is for PADI’s network of dive-centres, dive professionals and recreational divers to drive the joint citizen-science effort through surface and underwater surveys near the Interceptors and at surrounding oceanic dive-sites.