Born in Hong Kong in the late sixties, Eian Kee grew up on the small island of Lamma. With a home near the sea, he could smell the salt in the air and listen to the sound of waves crashing. He spent his youth swimming and snorkelling, the sensation of weightlessness and the silence underwater became an escape from the stress of daily life. With his first pay check, he eagerly signed up for scuba classes and began his diving journey.
As Hong Kong’s economy began to explode in the mid-1980s, man-made infrastructure and rapid population growth started to take a toll on natural environments. It wasn’t until Eian noticed his once-clear, turquoise seas began to change to shades of dark, polluted green that he realized he needed to stand up for ocean protection. As Eian noticed increasing amounts of marine debris during his dives, he began to look for opportunities to take action for marine conservation – he found the perfect fit in Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris program.
Starting in May of 2016, Eian gathered a group of friends, family and dive volunteers from Blue Ocean Dive Club to meet monthly for Dive Against Debris surveys through Hong Kong’s summer season (May through October). Averaging about 27 volunteers per gathering, volunteers consistently gathered in local dive sites around Hong Kong to remove, record and report marine debris items to Dive Against Debris. His team gathered more than 522 pieces of trash – including beverage bottles, cans, food packaging and various fishing equipment – totally 130 kg. The success of their efforts and commitment of his volunteer team has motivated Eian to continue and expand his Dive Against Debris work in 2017.
He explains, “As a scuba instructors we stand on the forefront of ocean conservation. I believe that through education, sharing and commitment to eco-safe diving practices, we can encourage people to address marine ecological issues and get involved in conservation.”