Our planet is in bad shape. More than anything else, this fact is proven by the state of our seas and oceans. Garbage ends up in the sea by the millions of tons every year, and the bulk of that garbage is made up of plastic rubbish.
Despite this alarming situation, some hope exists. Individuals and organizations all over the world are striving to protect the seas through a host of conservancy programs. The global community of scuba divers is no different. Let’s find out how and why they’re committed to this cause.
What is A Dive Cleanup?
Everyone is familiar with beach cleanups. They’re a common practice in coastal cities and are open for everyone to participate. Dive cleanups, on the other hand, focus on collecting the different kinds of garbage that accumulate underwater. Of course, most of this debris is plastic.
To participate in a dive cleanup, one should be a certified diver with good buoyancy. It is also important to be in good health. These are skills that are at the core of scuba diving, which makes scuba divers the ideal people for dive cleanups.
Why is it Important?
Every single piece of garbage in the ocean and seas, including the estimated 5.35 trillion pieces of plastic, contributes to the death and extinction of underwater life.
Removing plastic from our seas is important because plastic is essentially indestructible. It does not decompose naturally. It does, however, break down into smaller pieces as a result of solar radiation and the impact of waves. By breaking down repeatedly, a small piece of plastic turns into tiny particles of 5mm or less. These particles are known as microplastics.
When marine animals confuse larger pieces of plastic for food and eat them, they eventually die of starvation because their stomachs are full of plastic. Microplastics, though, do not cause death in marine animals and instead accumulate in their muscles.
Microplastics are also a problem for humans because we eat many different kinds of fishes, and other marine life. Consuming an animal that’s been contaminated by plastic rubbish means that those microplastics, and all the chemicals they contain, make it up the food chain and into our digestive systems.
In this way, the trash that we throw out to the sea quite literally makes its way back to us.
How You Can Get Involved
If you’re a certified diver, or a diver who is about to be certified, you can join the efforts to clean the ocean. Founded by PADI® in the late 1980s as an ocean conservation project, Project AWARE has now become a worldwide non-profit organization consisting of individual divers as well as dive organizations. Currently, Project AWARE is focused on plastic debris as well as protecting sharks & rays.
Deep Blue Dive Center is proud to be part of Project AWARE. In addition to offering Red Sea scuba diving, snorkeling and boat trips in Aqaba, we also encourage our guests to join us in keeping the Gulf of Aqaba clean through dive cleanups. Contact us today to connect your passion for scuba diving with the goal of marine conservation.