Divers in Sydney are truly blessed when it comes to dive site variety and access. There are few places in the world that offer such a diverse array of accessible temperate water diving. Setting itself even further apart is Sydney’s easy shore diving and delightful local dive sites. However, nothing upsets us divers more than when we see rubbish, debris and waste cluttering our gorgeous dive sites. That’s why we organise Dive against Debris clean ups, to do our part to secure a future for our marine habitats.
What’s at risk?
The ocean covers around two-thirds of our planet and encompasses a diverse range of habitats, from tropical coral reefs to giant forests made of kelp. Scuba divers travel hundreds of miles across the world to appreciate this vast underwater world and the incredible creatures that call it home.
But the risk to this paradise is increasing at an alarming rate as discarded rubbish from the world above is turning once-pristine reefs into trash sites. Project AWARE’s Debris Snapshot showcases almost 90,000 items of rubbish – weighing over 32 tons – that divers removed and reported in 2015 alone. Worse still, it’s a massive danger to marine life. In many cases, divers are able to come to the rescue, but not all are as fortunate; 1,000 creatures were reported injured or killed as a result of marine debris in just one year.
What exactly is marine debris?
Marine debris is rubbish, trash, litter – items discarded after use by humans and which find their way into the ocean. There’s a wide assortment of debris floating around the ocean, including plastic, cloth, metal, glass, ceramics, rubber, wood, paper and cardboard. Some of the more unusual items found so far include a full set of golf clubs, false teeth and a pogo stick!
The sort of trash that’s especially dangerous to marine life includes cans and bottles, discarded fishing nets and carrier bags (mistaken for tasty jellyfish by turtles). It’s also a hazard to people who use the water and costs marine ecosystems billions of dollars each year.
How you can help tackle marine debris:
When it comes to marine debris, the adage “out of sight, out of mind” has never rang truer. Hidden below the surface, the extent and devastating results of the problem remain invisible to many people. Fortunately, as a diver and ambassador for the ocean planet, you have the ability to make a difference.
Project AWARE launched Dive Against Debris in 2011; today it unites over 21,000 divers in over 60 countries with the common goal of removing and reporting on marine debris.
Not only do Dive Against Debris surveys directly improve the quality of local sites, but the data collected helps influence policies and drive the change needed to stop trash from reaching the ocean in the first place. Findings are also visualised on the Dive Against Debris Interactive Map to further highlight the quantity and type of marine debris littering our seas.
By joining a Dive Against Debris survey, or even starting your own, you can join the movement and take important steps to help protect the ocean that you care about.
We have a Dive against Debris Day coming up fast on our dive calendar. September 10th in fact! It’s time for all of us to give back to Mother Nature, do our part as responsible divers and help to clean up just a small part of the wonderful ecosystem we all love to explore! It’s up to you to make the difference and secure our pristine marine life for future generations to come.