British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue

News

2005-06-10 13:44:56

Dive for Debris

September 17th is the 20th Anniversary of International Cleanup Day. Once again, SCUBA divers around the world will join in and contribute to make this year’s cleanup the largest effort yet, by adding underwater cleanups to beach events. Each year Project AWARE Foundation co-ordinates the underwater portion of International Cleanup Day , in co-operation with the Ocean Conservancy , recognising that divers are a vital part of the effort to remove debris and contribute to solve marine litter issues. Once again, Project AWARE Foundation is calling all SCUBA divers to take action and participate in river, lake, beach and underwater cleanups in their local area.

This means that as summer draws to a close, thousands of dedicated SCUBA divers will be embarking on dives in search of something they hope they won't find – rubbish. Unfortunately, last year, they did: cigarette butts, glass and plastic bottles, food wrappers and drink cans among other things – it certainly builds up. Litter is a growing problem in the oceans and on beaches around the world, largely resulting from our increasing use of non-biodegradable packaging and irresponsible waste disposal. Litter is not just a surface problem. Rubbish from oil drums and drink cans to plastic bottles and discarded fishing gear also accumulates on the seabed. The disposal of litter at sea, in rivers or on beaches has wide ranging impacts. "As a diver, you see first hand the devastating effects litter can have underwater. Marine litter contaminates habitat and harms aquatic life," states Dr. Drew Richardson, Chairman, Project AWARE Foundation. "Divers have the training and skills necessary to remove much of the debris found below the surface. The data they collect during International Cleanup Day, helps complete the overall picture of debris sources in an effort to resolve these issues."

Project AWARE hopes this year's cleanup events will raise awareness of the needless and irresponsible dumping of debris that is still prevalent in many areas and hopes to encourage local communities to care for their fragile aquatic environments. The volunteers will be recording and photographing the rubbish they collect and this information will be used to produce a worldwide, annual report of the results as well as campaign against the sources of marine litter.

How to take part?

You can join the 20th Anniversary celebration by organising your own beach and / or underwater clean up or by volunteering at someone else's. Everyone wishing to organise an event must register and complete the sign up available from www.projectaware.org. Alternatively you can contact Project AWARE Foundation (International) at info@projectaware.org.uk. If you want to take part as a volunteer or want to join forces with another cleanup co-ordinator, please search the database of cleanup locations on the Volunteer Network section of www.projectaware.org to find an International Cleanup Day event near you.

Whether you are able to participate or not, your financial support drives every ocean-saving action we take at the Project AWARE Foundation. Please, help us make this year’s International Cleanup Day a special time to celebrate our aquatic world … and to help make sure it stays clean, wild and healthy for generations to come. Please go to http://www.justgiving.com/projectaware/donate/ and be as generous as you possibly can. During 2004's cleanup events, 300,000 people in 88 countries volunteered to remove nearly eight million pounds of debris. Our oceans are on the verge of collapse and your support is much needed. Don't miss out on this unique opportunity. Take part in one of the largest volunteer environmental effort on behalf the aquatic world and / or support Project AWARE Foundation’s efforts to make our underwater world a better one for us today and for future generations.