ANNUAL BEACH AND UNDERWATER CLEANUP AT HALFMOON BEACH NETS MORE THAN HALF TON OF DEBRIS Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia – 665 kgs of plastic water bottles, aluminum cans, lids and cups, barbecue grills, shawarma wrappers, torn carpets, rugs, discarded clothings, broken glasses, food containers, paint cans were among the garbage gathered during Project AWARE: Beach & Underwater Cleanup event on Friday, 5 October 2012 at HalfMoon Beach. Organized by the Filipino scuba divers of Recreational Diving Aficionados (RDA DiveNet), in collaboration with Arabian Gulf Divers headed by Saudi PADI MSDT Mohammed Al Ameer, this year’s cleanup event registered almost 200 volunteers including divers and non divers from different organizations in Riyadh, Dammam, Dhahran, and Al Khobar including APO-DAA, Bantay@Kasangga, Saudi Divers Group, and IDEA Divers. Raul Ausemestre, PADI Instructor Development Course Staff, welcomed guests and volunteers with a short speech emphasizing the cause of the annual cleanup activity to promote marine environment protection through education, advocacy and action. Highlighting “buddy system” to the divers, PADI Dive Master Allan Abulencia / Romulo Pantig / Abdulkareem Haji explained the cleanup map covering 50 x 25 meters underwater area for trash collection. Simultaneously, non-diver volunteers were led by the organizers to conduct beach cleanup along the HalfMoon 2 mile- shore. Special gift packs were awarded to outstanding volunteer divers and shore cleaners who gathered the most trash during the event. “Aside from our aim to promote awareness, our group also signifies both our concern and appreciation to the natural resources of Saudi Arabia which has been a second home to us (expatriates). We hold this annual cleanup event to raise awareness especially to the local youth in order to encourage them to uphold cleanliness and to care for their environment,” according to DM Eric Ocampo, one of the organizers. HalfMoon Beach, aside from being a favored dive site for trainings and in-water skills practice for scuba divers in Central and Eastern part of Saudi Arabia, is also a common host for swimmers and beach-goers both Saudi locals and expatriates, due to its mapped wrecks, quiet location, growing number of fish species and occasional sightings of dolphins and wild birds. This year’s Project AWARE: Beach & Underwater Cleanup at HalfMoon Beach was sponsored by KUDU Corp., Mobily-Globe-KSA, Sharky's Dive Center, Jollibee, and TFC-Middle East.
And thank you to Mrs. Medylene Ocampo who tirelessly spearheaded and organized the event..