23 Sep 2011

Time to Clean Up The World

Did you know that the 3rd weekend in September is "Clean Up The World" weekend? In other words... last weekend and we just missed it! Or did we? Did any of you know about it?

Anthias, the dive club I've been going out with this summer sure did! They're combining that with Project Aware's Dive Against Debris programme, and they've organised a Mediterranean clean-up day for tomorrow

Project Aware's objectives:
"Dive Against Debris combines underwater cleanups with critical data collection that helps address marine debris problems at their source. The data we collect will present a compelling 360-degree view of debris issues and will help initiate policy change to prevent debris in the future."
"If we’re going to help change waste management policies, we need underwater data that paints a true picture of debris issues beneath the surface. We hope you - the dive leaders, volunteers and citizen scientists - will join a growing movement of scuba divers in 180 countries collecting and reporting the underwater trash you find to help protect the ocean against the onslaught of marine debris."
Marine debris is basically our everyday trash that ends up floating around or sinking in the oceans. Don't think it's just the responsibility of coastal dwellers! Trash travels over land (think of how far the wind can blow stuff!), down rivers and storm drains... you've heard of the water cycle, right? It all ends up back in the ocean! And once there it can drift anywhere around the world because it's really all just one big ocean thanks to the massive oceanic currents. This ends up being a problem for many animals (particularly sea birds, turtles...) who confuse the rubbish for food, for certain delicate environments (like coral reefs) and even humans who find their favourite once pristine beaches just covered in the trash the tide washed in! 

Who better than divers to appreciate this problem? We spend as many hours as we can lost in the beauty and wonders of the underwater world, and although we may on occasion make a joke out of it ('cause we usually have a great sense of humor!),

Don't Drink and Dive kids!

it saddens us to see things like this in the sea:

plastic bag floating beneath the sea's surface

This isn't  a problem that's going to be solved (or even cleaned up) with just one day's actions. It's going to take regular work and a daily effort from all of us to keep our oceans and planet clean! I'm going to be pitching in tomorrow, why don't you see if you can do something about it this weekend too? It's never too late to start, right? ;o)

And for the divers out there, here's a great Self-Study guide for collecting (and reporting) trash on your own while you're out diving. ;o)


  1. I am proud that my city here in Washington state has decided to stop using plastic bags. I have carried my own bag for so long it seems WRONG to have one. But sometimes I get discouraged, it seems such a small action, but if everyone did just ONE small action, it would make a real difference! Thanks for the reminder, Cris!

  2. I get discouraged by the amount of garbage I bring home from the store, any store, stuff that didn't exist in my childhood (so I know it's possible to live without it); wrappings and bags and bubble packs and...I definitely shop with all this in mind but it would take a much better person than I to avoid it altogether. I'd sure like to see the packaging issue addressed politically, and we tried to outlaw plastic packaging in Oregon, but as you can imagine the lobby against it was very well funded. The initiative started out with lots of support but it dwindled towards the election. Somehow the idea that it is a matter of freedom to be able to choose to buy garbage holds sway.

  3. Spain has just started reducing the plastic bags this past year, by having the supermarkets charge for them to encourage people to bring the big sturdy recycled bags... but the smaller places still provide them, and in any case the price is so cheap most people just ask for the bags. :s

    Not enough, but it's a step in the right direction!


Hey there! Yes you! The quiet one in the back... I'd love it if you hung out for a bit and shared your thoughts!

I might stop by your place with an answer, but I'm more likely to reply right here so click on "email follow up comments" if you'd like to see what I and others have to say and come continue the conversation! ;o)