I was lucky enough to be able to attend Deep Blue Scuba & Swim Center’s first annual Dive Against Debris event on 15 September.
The local dive community met at the Belmont Veteran's Pier in Long Beach, California. The event was not only in conjunction with Project AWARE’s Debris Month of Action but was in honor of Artie Williams, III (a photojournalist, ABC7 cameraman, and diver who fought against marine debris and, who recently lost his life doing something he loved - diving).
They invited several organizations like Project AWARE, PADI, the Aquarium of the Pacific and NOAA to be part of the event to educate the dive community, encouraging the volunteers to learn more about how they can get involved to help protect the environment as well as what is already being done. And made a point to have the local media involved to share the movement with the general public, not only in honor of Artie Williams but to make the greatest impact from the combined actions of all those involved. The Deep Blue Scuba are aware and concerned with the fact that marine debris is a complex issue and there needs to be a cohesive movement in order to enact change at the local, state, and federal level.
The Deep Blue Scuba team was very organized and effective with volunteer divers. Splitting the large group of volunteers into teams, to cover a wide area near the pier. Despite 2 feet of visibility the group managed to retrieve around 10 lbs of debris. Most of the debris was plastic that would remain in the water forever, breaking down into smaller pieces that can choke and harm wildlife.
Its inspiring to meet business owners that know that protecting the environment is not only key to their business but necessary to build a better community and then take the steps necessary to make it happen.