Langkawi Coral joined the first Dive Against Debris program organized by Project AWARE. The program was carried out on 24 September 2011 in Pulau Payar, Langkawi with 16 divers and our staff volunteering in an underwater clean-up and data collection to help protect underwater habitats and marine species.
Dive Against Debris is a new year-round program introduced by Project AWARE that combines underwater clean-ups with data collection. This program aims to address worldwide marine debris problems at their source and to reduce the devastating impacts of debris with each dive. The data collected will present a coherent view of marine debris issues thus helping to initiate policy change locally and globally.
Marine Debris – A Global Issue
Marine debris is the rubbish of our everyday lives that makes its way into the ocean. Once underwater, this debris can remain for generations. Every year, debris kills thousands of marine animals and sea birds, destroys underwater habitats, contaminates our beaches, and threatens our health and economy.
Information released by Project AWARE showed that over 6 million tons of marine litter may be entering our ocean every year. As much as 70 percent of this marine litter has been estimated to end up on the seabed. More than 260 species are reported to have been entangled in, or to have ingested marine debris. Those seriously affected include northern fulmars (a type of seabird) and northern fur seals.
As a result of careless consumer behavior, as much as 90 percent of floating marine debris may be plastic. These include plastic bottles and plastic bags. The production and use of plastics has also reached a staggering 230 million tons in 2009 compared to 1.5 million tons in 1950.
Dive Against Debris – A Global Effort in Battling Marine Debris
Marine debris is preventable. Waste management policies at local, national, regional and international level can be established and improved to combat the issue of marine debris. That is the reason why Project AWARE is collecting marine debris data from divers all around the world. This underwater data will give a clearer picture of the marine debris polluting the ocean and its devastating impacts from the divers’ underwater perspective.
The data collected from the Dive Against Debris program plays a critical role in informing and persuading policy makers and other stakeholders to establish and improve solid waste management practices at all levels. This knowledge acts as an important source in making and improving waste management practices and policies.
More importantly, this data will support the development of coordinated policies and strategies, like the Honolulu Commitment and the ongoing work on the Honolulu Strategy – a global framework to prevent, reduce and manage marine debris.