While people read about water pollution and endangered species in the news, scuba divers see and are affected by these problems first hand. That is why Project AWARE has started the Ocean Action Project, a program that allows divers to formulate their own plans in order to better protect ocean life and keep the water clean. Those who are surrounded by the reality of ocean issues are the ones who can have the biggest impact and begin to turn the situation around.
The Ocean Action Project focuses on two major ocean issues—shark and ray protection and marine debris. Every project that is set in motion has a goal to make a change and is designed to get results. In 2012, there were five different Ocean Action Projects started with help from Project AWARE as well as PADI.
To be eligible for the Ocean Action Project, create a plan that will strongly influence change where needed and have a positive impact. Last year, the Semporna Shark Sanctuary project was started to protect pelagic species (including sharks) in the waters near Semporna, Malaysia, but it did not only focus on preserving ocean life. The organization’s mission was to also protect those who worked in ecotourism. In Koh Tao, Thailand, a local community group received an Ocean Action Project grant as well as funding from PADI for their project to protect and restore the water’s resources. Their plan was to create a rubbish reduction awareness campaign, place signs and garbage bins around the island and to start an island clean-up crew.
Already have a project stirring in your mind? To turn an idea into reality, request help from Project AWARE by visiting projectaware.org/OceanActionProject and apply online. You will want to read the guidelines and applications first to make sure your project qualifies, and then fill out the application form provided on the website. But you have to be quick – the deadline for applications is tomorrow (Oct. 31).
Find out more about Project AWARE’s Ocean Action Project here.