World Oceans Day 2015: Project AWARE explains the Ugly Journey of our Trash

Ugly Journey of our Trash 2015

How does our trash make its way from land to sea? Project AWARE’s new animated infographic explains the ugly journey, and shines light on the dangers our litter poses to marine ecosystems and wildlife along the way. While the marine debris issue may at first appear daunting, there is hope! With our underwater skill set, the dive community is uniquely positioned to contribute to global solutions by participating in Dive Against Debris, Project AWARE’s year-round underwater debris removal and reporting program.

We all want a healthy ocean and healthy planet – join Project AWARE in the fight against marine debris – become a Debris Activist this World Oceans Day and all year long!
Ugly Journey of our Trash Video

Our ocean is under siege. From everyday trash like plastic bags, food wrappers and drink bottles, to larger items like car batteries, kitchen appliances and fishing nets, our debris is entering the sea at an alarming rate. Our ocean has become a dumping ground.

Marine debris is not only unsightly, it’s dangerous to sea life, hazardous to human health, and costly to our economies. Marine animals can become entangled in debris or mistake small particles of trash for food – often with fatal results. Divers, swimmers and beachgoers can be directly harmed by encounters with debris or its toxins. And, the costs of plastic debris to marine ecosystems are estimated at 13 billion dollars a year. Better information about sources and impacts is extremely important to drive changes in infrastructure and waste management policies at all levels.

Who is responsible? All of us. Together we can help prevent and clear up this mess for a clean, healthy ocean planet.

Download and share “The Ugly Journey of Our Trash” to educate your community on how our rubbish becomes the ocean’s problem.

Project AWARE: Debris Month of Action is Here

Debris Month of Action

September is Project AWARE’s Debris Month of Action – a time when thousands of scuba divers around the world unite and take action against marine debris – the ocean’s silent killer. But don’t think of it as just a one-time dive to take out the trash. It’s so much more than that. With events happening around the globe this month, there are many options for you to get involved. Go to projectaware.org to find out more.

Teach the New Dive Against Debris Specialty

Dive Against Debris Specialty Course

This month, Project AWARE is excited to announce the launch of a New Distinctive Specialty course: the Dive Against Debris Distinctive Specialty.

Led by you, the PADI Instructor, now divers of all experience levels can be equipped with better knowledge of debris issues and empowered with the skills to complete ongoing Dive Against Debris surveys.

From planning the dive to reporting the debris data, the Dive Against Debris Distinctive Specialty prepares students to participate and support regular Dive Against Debris surveys, join other surveys, or, in case of more experienced divers, to start surveys of their own.

The course:

  • Educates divers about the messy problem of marine debris – the damage done, what it is, where it comes from, and how divers are part of the solution.
  • Equips divers with the knowledge and skills needed to conduct a Dive Against Debris survey –  considerations for creating a survey dive profile, use of photography, and decision making on what to remove and what to leave behind.
  • Highlights the five steps needed to record and report findings from a Dive Against Debris dive – weigh, sort, record, dispose, and report.
  • Explains how to join the global Project AWARE movement of scuba divers protecting our ocean planet.

If you’re looking to really make a difference and support a growing global army of volunteers combatting ocean trash, then teaching this course is for you. Students will gain a PADI certification which counts towards their PADI Master Scuba Diver and they’ll be well on their way to leading and organizing their own surveys no matter where they live or dive. Plus your Instructor Rating counts towards your own PADI Master Scuba Diving Instructor rating. PADI Course Directors can also apply for the Dive Against Debris Distinctive Specialty Instructor Trainer rating.

Join other leaders around the world and become a Dive Against Debris Distinctive Specialty Instructor today. PADI will generously donate the application fee to Project AWARE. All teaching materials are available free to download.

New Interactive Dive Against Debris Map

Dive Against Debris Map

Scuba divers worldwide remove and report marine debris found below the surface

An interactive map launched this week by Project AWARE visualizes nearly three years of ongoing reporting by an international network of volunteer scuba divers who remove trash they find underwater through the Dive Against Debris programme.

Dive Against Debris empowers scuba divers around the world to remove and report types and amounts of trash they find underwater. The web-based reporting platform enables divers to submit their data and images online. This information is now being shown on the new interactive Dive Against Debris map, shedding light on the growing marine debris problem that remains largely invisible to the wider public.

“Armed with the information, supported by people on the ground, and working in partnerships, we can drive much needed change for the ocean from two directions: bottom up and top down,” said Ania Budziak, Associate Director of Science and Policy for Project AWARE. “Together, we can change what we produce, consume, and how we dispose of our waste. We can also influence policies necessary to improve how waste is managed locally, regionally and globally.”

Our trash does not belong in the environment yet millions of tons of it enter the ocean each year. So far, the number one type of trash reported by Project AWARE divers is plastic – making up nearly 70 percent of the items. These include single use plastics we throw away everyday like bottles and bags that animals mistake for food as well as fishing line and nets that entangle marine life with devastating consequences. The map, which visualizes more than 400,000 items of debris reported so far, underscores why initiatives to reduce waste are so critical.

Project AWARE’s new Dive Against Debris map represents the first opportunity to instantly visualize what is reported and where on a global scale. The organization hopes to use this information to target debris prevention initiatives, reduce the amount of rubbish entering the ocean and ultimately protect wildlife.

“As scuba divers, we’re able to use our unique skills and knowledge to collect data to show the devastating impacts our waste has on life beneath the waves,” said Budziak. “Project AWARE volunteers who remove and report underwater debris are members of a unique community that contribute to a clean and healthy ocean and also inspire us all to make ocean friendly choices every day.”

View the map to see what divers are finding underwater and get involved at projectaware.org/DiveAgainstDebrisMap.

Scuba Divers Fight Back Against Marine Debris

Every day, scuba divers around the world battle the ocean’s silent killer – marine debris – from beneath the surface. Their mission during this September’s Debris Month of Action? To inspire year-round action to remove, report and prevent underwater debris while combating the growing marine debris problem.

Project AWARE Debris Month of Action

More than six million tons of marine litter is estimated to enter the ocean each year. Once there, our trash accumulates and includes everything from plastic bags, food wrappers and drink bottles to car batteries, fishing nets and industrial waste.

Project AWARE is engaging the dive community in the fight against marine debris. By participating in Debris Month of Action this September, divers and ocean advocates can: (Continue Reading …)

Want to get involved but not sure how to get started?

Check out the Dive Against Debris Event Organizer Kit – Download helpful tools to recruit, organize and recognize your volunteers as well as ideas for how to organize additional activities alongside your survey such as a family fun day, BBQ lunch or fundraiser.