Plastic pollution has finally hit the news and whilst the task ahead is still huge, there are signs that the tide is changing for plastic polluting our seas and oceans. In the UK, there has been a “Blue Planet Effect” where one extremely popular TV series has had a profound influence on the way people think about the plastic they use. On top of this with Sky TV running a campaign on their sporting channels and the mainstream TV and paper news outlets finally bringing the problem into our sitting rooms, the public and politicians are taking note and starting to act.
What is the problem?
Well – all the plastic that has ever been made still exists. It might break down into smaller and smaller pieces, but it never goes away. Here are some more sobering facts:
- Over 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean every year.
- The UN estimates that there are 51 trillion microplastic particles in the ocean – 500 times more than the number of stars in the galaxy. Plastic debris outweighs plankton by a ratio of 36 to 1. Oceans are predicted to contain more plastic than fish by 2050.
- More than 5 trillion plastic pieces weighing over 250,000 tonnes afloat at sea. In July 2017, a plastic waste patch bigger than Mexico was discovered floating in the Pacific Ocean.
- Plastic products leach toxins that are now found in most people. Exposure to these toxins is linked to infertility, cancers and many other health problems.
- In 2016, 6,000 Great British Beach Clean volunteers picked up 268,384 individual pieces of plastic from 364 British beaches over just one weekend.
Wild animals get entangled in plastic, eat it or mistake it for food and feed it to their young. Over 260 species have been reported to ingest or become entangled in plastic debris, resulting in impaired movement and feeding, reduced reproductive output and death. Plastic is ingested by 31 species of marine mammal and more than 100 species of sea birds.
So what are divers doing to help?
Lots – but there is so much more to do! Of course, divers are usually passionate about the oceans and marine life, so can be the best advocates for promoting the idea of giving up single-use plastic.
Our very own Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown helped to set up a campaign called SeaStraw that is helping bars and restaurants give up single-use plastic and they are having great success in Manchester where they live. Businesses can download and sign their pledge from the website, putting themselves on the Ocean Heroes Map, by clicking here.
We recently ran a story about a liveaboard fleet that has given up plastic straws and aims to be single-use plastic free by 2019. You can read about that here: www.scubaverse.com/liveaboard-fleet-makes-plastic-pledge
Lots of dive centers, resorts and liveaboards we have recently dived with are giving away re-usable water bottles, rather than single-use plastic cups.
Many dive centres organise beach clean-ups to remove plastic pollution from the shoreline and even underwater.
Charities such as Project Aware and the Marine Conservation Society collect both rubbish and vital data about plastic pollution in our oceans.
But there is more that can be done, and it will take divers to speak up, celebrating the good as well as calling out bad practices to help us stamp out plastic pollution in our oceans. For example, email your favourite dive manufacturer and ask them to use less plastic in their product packaging. Refuse single-use plastics like straws and cups from the bars and restaurants you frequent on diving trips and in every day life. Don’t take part in balloon releases. Every little thing you do will help.
We want to know what you have encountered on your dive trips around the world. What great initiatives have you seen? Please give a shout out to the dive establishments that are doing their bit and give them the recognition they deserve. If you run a dive centre and are doing your bit – let us know.
Jeff chats to… Ahmed Fadel and Elke Bojanowski from Scuba Scene Liveaboard in the Red Sea (Watch Video)
In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Ahmed Fadel and Elke Bojanowski from Scuba Scene Liveaboard in the Red Sea, Egypt.
Ahmed started working as safari guide in 2000 giving him unique experiences exploring the southern Egyptian Red Sea. It gave him a great opportunity to learn and gain a lot of experience in the nature of the Red Sea, and also qualified him to become the author of the book ‘Southern Red Sea Dive Guide’.
He is also an experienced dive instructor since 1997 and an experienced Tech instructor up to the level of Advanced Trimix.
Working for a number of reputable companies has given Ahmed an in-depth understanding of the nature of boats and the way they have developed over the years, as well as great connections to the local crews and staff.
Using Egyptian liveaboards as a platform, she started collecting data on shark populations, while working as a guide in the Red Sea since October 2004.
In 2012 she founded – and is still running – the Red Sea Sharks Trust, an officially registered charity in the UK. This is the umbrella organisation for a variety of projects on sharks, including the biggest database for Oceanic Whitetip Sharks in the world.
The general goals of this charity are to collect as much information on sharks as possible to be made available for shark conservation, and to increase the awareness among divers about the problems and conservation issues that sharks are facing worldwide
Besides collecting scientific data, Elke is giving educational presentations and seminars for the guests on board her Marine Park trips, covering shark topics such as: species identification, biology and behaviour, and conservation and research.
Since January 2019, all diveguides working on liveaboards in the Egyptian Red Sea have had to attend a mandatory seminar on guidelines and safe diving practices for interactions with Oceanic Whitetip Sharks. The seminar written and presented by Elke has been attended by more than 1400 guides and other dive professionals to date.
Find out more at https://scubasceneliveaboard.com
Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.
Top 5 Party Guests: The Magic of Night Diving in Cozumel
A blog by Pro Dive International
*Header image: On the day of our planned night dive at the Allegro Cozumel, we had to reschedule, as any water activity during thunderstorms and lightning is considered dangerous. We still thought it was worth sharing this breathtaking spectacle with you.*
Have you ever gazed out at the open ocean at night wondering what happens down there as the sun disappears over the horizon and darkness sets in? If all marine life will be sleeping, or if there’s anything creeping along the reefs?
Here’s what really happens, including a list of our Top 5 Party Guests that make you want to add night diving in Cozumel to your bucket list.
While the Caribbean Sea is not calming down at night due to the effectively constant trade-winds in the tropics that drive ocean wave trains and cause waves to break throughout day and night, a vibrant party under the sea is just about to begin, as huge basket stars unfurl their arms into the night, parrotfish create their mucus bubble beds, giant lobsters, king crabs and octopus prepare for hunt, and bioluminescence sparkles up the scene.
TOP 5 Party Guests
1. Basket Stars
These sea stars can only be observed in their true glory at night when they unfurl their many branched arms into the darkness to filter food from the water. Some reach nearly a meter in size! Shine your torch on them and watch them curl their huge arms back towards their mouths as they eat the small creatures attracted by your light.
The perfect party costume, do you agree?
2. Cephalopods – Octopus & Squid
These fascinating creatures are rarely spotted during day dives, but at night you can see them out and about hunting the reef for their next meal. Watch as they move about changing colors and patterns in the blink of an eye! Below is a picture of an octopus spreading its body wide over the reef like a net to encircle its prey.
Did you know that octopuses were that colorful?
Safely tucked away in the back of a crevice during the day, these creatures venture out under the cover of darkness to hunt. A fantastic opportunity to finally get a close-up look at all those king crabs and plenty of lobsters you have only seen as small eyes peering out from the back of a cave.
Up for a dance?
Many fish only half sleep, needing to be alert to the dangers 24/7, but parrot fish have evolved an ingenious warning system so they can get their eyes shut. As night draws in, they find a nook to rest in and start to create a mucus like a bubble encircling their whole bodies. They can rest safely in this for the entire night, but if anything disturbs this veil, they are off like a shot into the dark!
How did this sleepy guy make it into our Top 5?
For those not familiar with this natural phenomenon, bioluminescence is a chemical process which allows living creatures like plankton, tiny crustaceans, some fish, squid and algae to produce light in their body to either attract prey, confuse predators, or lure potential mates.
As the bioluminescent sea will glow when it’s disturbed by a breaking wave or a splash in the water at night, for most of our divers the best part is covering up the torches and waving our arms about disturbing the bioluminescence into sparkling blue points of light.
This makes the perfect party glitter!
Already in a party mood? Pack your dive gear!
How to join the underwater party in Cozumel?
- Join Pro Dive International’s Cozumel Night Dives as a certified diver.
- Boost your skills and make your night dive one of the 5 Adventure Dives of the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course.
- Contact us for guidance.
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Egypt | Simply the Best Itinerary | 04 – 11 November 2021 | Emperor Echo
Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. Great value for money and perfect for small groups of buddies with a ‘Book 5 and 1 dives for FREE’ offer all year round.
Price NOW from just £1275 per person based on sharing a twin cabin/room including:
- Flights from Gatwick to Hurghada with 23kgs baggage
- 7 nights in shared cabin
- 3 meals a day, soft drinks, red wine with dinner
- 6 days’ diving, guide, 12ltr tank & weights, Marine Park fees and port departure fees
- Free Nitrox
Subject to availability.
Alternative departure airports available at supplement.
Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.More Less
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