RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, CA — The Orange County Board of Supervisors, led by Lisa Bartlett, recognized Rancho Santa Margarita-based nonprofit, Project AWARE, for their milestone achievement of removing one million pieces of trash from our ocean.
In this effort titled, Dive Again Debris®, scuba divers around the world worked to remove and report one million pieces of marine litter from the oceans. As part of Dive Again Debris, recreational and professional divers retrieved objects varying from sunbeds to batteries and shoes, as well as vast quantities of plastic fishing line, cutlery, and bottles. Just off the coast of OC, an estimated 2,500 pieces of trash were retrieved, 71% of which were plastic products.
Project AWARE, a global nonprofit organization, with US charity headquarters in Rancho Santa Margarita, works to create positive change for the ocean through community action.
In the Dive Against Debris effort, a global marine debris survey launched in 2011, 49,188 divers from 114 countries worked to clean up the ocean and build evidence to shine a light on the global marine litter crisis.
"Divers dive because they have a deep love for the ocean and the life it supports. They are, more than any of us, confronted daily with the damage that human activity is having on marine life," said Danna Moore, Director of Global Operations, Project AWARE. "We support a global community of citizens and scientists working to change things, and we want to thank Supervisor Bartlett and the Orange County Board of Supervisors for recognizing their amazing achievement."
The data reported captures essential information, creating the most comprehensive underwater dataset on the planet for marine debris. With over 90% of plastic pollution sinking to the ocean floor, this provides critical information for policymakers, scientists and local governments to drive change.
"While we are celebrating this accomplishment, our work is not over," said Moore. "Alongside the AWARE community and our PADI partner, we are committed to removing one million more pieces of trash by the end of 2020 – doing in a little over two years what we accomplished in seven. We urge Orange County businesses and residents to support your local dive shop in this effort and participate in a Dive Against Debris®. By joining the AWARE community of divers or donating to the One Million More initiative, you can help not only highlight the true extent of the marine debris problem but be a part of the solution."