No one knows the precise amount, but scientists think more than 6 million tons of marine debris might be entering our oceans every year. Project AWARE is collecting marine debris data from divers year-round to help build a clear picture of this underwater trash, which threatens ocean life. With this knowledge, we can make more-effective decisions when it comes to waste management policies.
Here’s how: It starts with underwater data. We need information that describes the underwater perspective and documents underwater impacts of marine debris to support policy change and prevention. Scuba divers are often the first to see impacts of debris underwater, so we are in a unique position to take action.
September's Debris Month of Action is a monthlong rally undertaken by thousands of scuba diving volunteers. Throughout the month, divers will pick up trash and litter, and they’ll also report on the data to Project AWARE. Last year, bizarre items — from teddy bears to washing machines — were picked up, but Project AWARE also tabulates millions of pedestrian objects such as cigarette butts, fast-food containers and plastic straws.
The data collected and reported by volunteer divers will help inform, influence, and empower policymakers and stakeholders to establish and improve vital integrated solid-waste management practices. What’s more, corporate sponsor Oris will match donations made to Project AWARE through September 2013.
Last year alone, more than 95,000 pounds of marine debris were removed from the surface. This year, we’re on track to beat that total. Your local actions can help contribute to a clean, healthy -future for the ocean.
Don’t let your dives go to waste:
Help work toward a clean, healthy ocean planet. Visit the Action Map and find a Dive Against Debris event near you at projectaware.org/action-zone/map or grab the Dive Against Debris survey kit and take action today. Check out Project AWARE’s infographic, “The Ugly Journey of Our Trash,” at projectaware.org/infographic.