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Taking Action For a

Clean Ocean

More than 250 million tons of plastic are estimated to make its way into our ocean by 2025. Everyday trash is entering the sea at an alarming rate. Learn how our community of divers fights back against the onslaught of trash.

The Issue

Marine debris is not only unsightly, it’s dangerous to sea life, hazardous to human health, and costly to our economies. Marine animals become entangled in debris, and even mistake it for food - often with fatal results. Divers, swimmers and beach goers can be directly harmed by encounters with marine debris or its toxins. The environmental damage caused by plastic debris alone is estimated at US$13 billion a year.

Learn more about the Ugly Journey of Our Trash.

Dive Against Debris Buddies at Surface
Dive Against Debris Cans

What We're Doing

Project AWARE works to reduce underwater impacts of marine debris and prevent trash from entering the ocean in the first place.

Through Partnerships Against Trash, we work with businesses, NGOs and governments to advocate for long-term solutions and influence waste management policies at local, national and international levels.

But global change is also empowered by grassroots action. That’s why we developed our flagship citizen science program, Dive Against Debris®,  the first and only marine debris survey of its kind focused on scuba divers reporting types and quantities of debris found on the ocean floor. By using and sharing the data reported by Dive Against Debris volunteers, online and through our partnerships, we're helping bridge the gap in knowledge and build convincing arguments to lead to change.

Moreover, our most dedicated Dive Against Debris leaders across the globe are taking their commitment to the fight against ocean trash to the next level through Adopt a Dive Site™. Adopt a Dive Site participants’ local, repeated marine debris surveys help improve the health of ocean ecosystems, but more importantly, they provide valuable, much-needed information about marine debris to help inform policy change.

So far, we have:

  • Created the most comprehensive underwater dataset of marine debris in the world

  • Supported a global community of debris activists who have reported and aided over 5,597 entangled or dead marine animals

  • Developed a unique global citizen science specialty course Dive Against Debris® to address data gap of marine debris from the seafloor

  • Empowered 1,607 Dive Against Debris Instructors who educated over 2,449 students on the threats of marine debris and how to take action to fight it

Our Impact:

  • More than 50,000 community members in over 114 countries have removed over 1.3 million debris items from the ocean - That’s over #OneMillionLess pieces of debris no longer wreaking havoc on marine life and fragile underwater habitats!

What's Next:

  • In 2019, we are taking a stronger stand against debris in the ocean to increase participation in Dive Against Debris and as a result, reach next million pieces of debris reported to our global dataset by the end of 2020, but #NextMillion2020, can't happen without you!

Project AWARE’s conservation strategy for a return to a Clean and Healthy Ocean, including programs like Dive Against Debris®, is in alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a number of target areas. This interactive infographic highlights those areas and Project AWARE’s commitment to supporting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We are committed to working towards supporting the implementation of the SDGs and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

How You Can Help

Global change is empowered by grassroots action. We need you – ocean enthusiasts and the scuba diving community – to help by taking action in your local community or next dive adventure!

If you’re a certified diver, you can collect and report important data. Through Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris, remove marine debris on your dive and report the results. Together we make the ocean safer for marine life, and more importantly, the information you report helps inform policy change. With your help, Project AWARE can use the information you report through Dive Against Debris to convince individuals, governments and businesses to act against marine debris.

Protect what you love and join citizens scientists everywhere. Join or lead a Dive Against Debris survey every time you dive! Be part of the solution and make #EveryDiveaSurveyDive

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