During September’s Debris Month of Action thousands of scuba divers around the world took action to tackle the ocean’s silent killer and provide a global snapshot of the debris issues plaguing our ocean planet.
Tires, glass bottles, hooks, fishing lines, discarded fishing nets — you name it, divers removed it from the sea floor and coral reef before bringing it to the surface to be sorted and disposed of properly.
As part of Project AWARE’s year round Dive Against Debris campaign, which empowers volunteers around the world to survey marine debris, the data collected from these events helps illustrate the problem and highlight the need for all of us to work together to find solutions. Underwater data is critical to raise awareness on the impacts of marine litter, to promote measures to reduce it and campaign to prevent it.
Debris Month of Action 2012 Highlights
One of the main highlights of this year’s Debris Month of Action was the launch of GO ECO Phuket, a group of eco divers and PADI dive centres in Phuket Thailand committed to working together to raise awareness and find solutions to local environmental problems. Over 500 divers took part in the biggest Dive Against Debris event held yet. About 15 tons of debris was pulled off the coral reefs around Phuket. Divers spent three dives carefully lifting a 4.5 ton fishing net from the coral reef before the Royal Thai Navy and a local fishing vessel were able to get the net out of the water.
United Arab Emirates
In a four-hour cleanup operation, more than 2.5 tons of debris scattered at a beach resort in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia were also removed as part of Debris Month of Action. Dive Against Debris coordinator Elmer Fuentes reported the removal of 181 pieces of alloy and metal bars, 45 plastic tables and chairs, 4 bags of plastic bottles and 4 bags of glass bottles. Around 110 Filipino and Western expatriates and Saudi scuba divers participated in the event.
Action Scuba in Montreal turned their Dive Against Debris event into a successful fundraising event in support of Project AWARE and shared their fundraising tips with other dive leaders on the My Ocean online network. The event raised almost US$800 and went a long way to inspire others to run similar events in support of our global efforts to tackle the ocean’s silent killer.
Debris Month of Action Photo Album
Debris Month of Action Photo Contest
The Debris Month of Action Facebook Photo Contest was also a big success. In a bid to show the true extent of the marine debris issue, we invited divers to submit photos of their weirdest findings. From teddy bears and toilet seats, to bicycles and prams, more than 145 photos were submitted. Congratulations to Skevi, the winner of the contest, and thank you to all the contest participants and everyone who voted for their favorite photo!
Debris Month of Action 2012 is over but the battle to stop the ocean’s silent killer continues. Since January 2012 a staggering 36,195 kg/76,796 lbs of marine debris has been removed, and new reports are submitted daily.