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Parliamentary Committee calls for Urgent Action on Plastic Waste

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A UK-wide scheme to charge a refundable deposit when we buy drinks bottles and other containers has been urged by the Environmental Audit Committee, and welcomed by the Marine Conservation Society. The Committee also told MPs they must put a much greater onus on plastic producers to make only products that can be fully and easily recycled, and for tap water to be made more readily available.

Plastic drinks bottles, along with caps, lids and other plastic on-the-go drink and food waste items, consistently feature in the top ten of litter types strewn on UK beaches, and account for up to 20% of all rubbish found in Marine Conservation Society beach cleans and surveys.

Dr Laura Foster, Head of Clean Seas at the Marine Conservation Society, says:

“We wholeheartedly support the findings of the Committee. UK consumers use 13 billion plastic bottles each year. These are generally used just once and thrown away – a deposit return system, coupled with increasing access to free drinking water, and an effective system to discourage waste and encourage good packaging designs, would reduce this growing plastic tide.”

The Marine Conservation Society says that support for such a scheme is high. 73% of the British public, questioned in a YouGov poll for MCS, support the introduction of deposit return systems across the UK for single-use drinks bottles (plastic and glass) and cans. That’s almost 3 out of 4 people, with most support coming from those aged over 45 years.

In the Environmental Audit Committee report, ‘Plastic Bottles: Turning Back the Plastic Tide’, the Committee calls on the Government to:

  • Introduce a Deposit Return Scheme for plastic drinks bottles
  • Introduce a requirement for all public premises that serve food and drink to provide free drinking water
  • Increase the number of public water fountains
  • Make producers financially responsible for the plastic packaging they produce
  • Phase in a mandated 50% recycled plastic content in plastic bottles, to be achieved by 2023 at the latest.

The report says that the UK’s rate of recycling for plastic bottles has stalled for the past five years, while bottle consumption has risen, and that the UK urgently needs to stop bottles being littered or landfilled. The Committee is calling on the Government to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme for plastic drinks bottles with the aim of boosting the recycling rate to 90%.

The Marine Conservation Society says that such a system must be developed to operate across the United Kingdom in one harmonised system, with Scottish Government already committed to a timescale in implementing a deposit return system.

The Marine Conservation Society backs all of the recommendations in the report, and has long demanded attention be given to supply chain and product design so that items are designed to be repaired, reused and then, at end-of-life, easily recycled. MCS has also called for a minimum recycled content in plastic products, and a producer responsibility system where the producers and consumers pay the full costs of the collection and disposal of products.

At present, taxpayers bear the brunt – around 90% – of costs to deal with waste plastic. Manufacturers and suppliers only contribute 10% of the cost of disposal and recycling. Dr Laura Foster says, “We must see producers’ contribution to waste disposal represent the full cost of the disposal, and incentivise good design to ensure ease of recyclability”.

In a survey conducted by Yougov, commissioned by the Marine Conservation Society, over half of all respondents said they would be likely to make use of water refill stations at shopping centres (54%) and outdoor recreation spaces (53%), closely followed by train and bus stations (48%), supermarkets (47%), cafes/restaurants (46%) and service stations (43%) if they were available.

The Marine Conservation Society is calling for a wide programme of action on plastics for Government and industry, detailed at www.mcsuk.org/stop-the-plastic-tide.

Dive Training Blogs

What you need to know about SMBs!

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Ok, so not the most exciting of topics… but an important one nonetheless. Especially as many of us will be starting to enjoy the UK dive season and heading out to explore our beautiful coastline. Some of you may even be heading into the UK waters for the first time due to the travel restrictions… welcome, you will wish that you had done it sooner! 

Surface marker buoys. SMB’s are an invaluable piece of equipment. To demonstrate your position in the water, to fend off boats, to show off your buoyancy to your dive buddy when you can inflate it without moving an inch in the water… or to un-intentionally make your buddy laugh when you forget to attach your reel and send it up like a lost rocket… A must have skill and piece of equipment for all divers. But, how do you choose which one is right for you, and how do you use it correctly? 

Choosing a colour, we all know to look cool as a diver, its all about co-ordinating, but not so much with SMB’s I’m afraid. The standard colour is orange and is what you will typically see being used, and yellow due to it’s higher ability to be seen at night time is just for an emergency…. Not because it is your favourite colour…sorry yellow lovers! If you are wanting to personalise it though you could put your name down the SMB, that way the surface cover knows who it is underneath. 

Next, inflation. Here we have the option of open bottom or direct inflation. An open bottom means that you will need to use your alternate to inflate the SMB, direct inflation you would use your inflator hose. Either of these are sufficient and is generally down to preference. If you are not sure which you prefer, or how to use them, there is a course that you can take to learn all of the skills and offer some helpful tips of how to inflate it and control your buoyancy too. I happen to know an instructor that teaches it… so just drop me a message and I can help…!

So, we have the SMB, next we need a line or spool. So many decisions with a basic piece of kit! Most SMB’s will come with a line, which is great as you can use the equipment straight away. The only down side is, with gloves it can become annoying, especially if you are changing depths quite often as typical on a shore dive here. You may wish to look at a spool instead… They also come in more colours, and this time you can choose which ever you want… even yellow, result! 

Having got to the point of choosing you SMB and line/spool, where are we now going to keep it? Clipping it onto your BCD, keeping it in your pocket. Anywhere is sufficient as long as its easily accessible… like not in your car once you have entered the water…. So be sure to add you SMB to your buddy check! Happy diving! 


Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com.

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DAN welcomes 2021 Research and Safety Interns

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Divers Alert Network® is excited to introduce five interns who will be working with the organization for the next few months to expand their knowledge of dive safety and research. After pausing the internship program last year, DAN is pleased to once again welcome young scholars pursuing their interests.

The DAN Internship Program was created more than 20 years ago to give qualified students valuable experience in dive safety research. While the program is still research-oriented, its scope has expanded over the years to include projects that focus on other facets of DAN’s mission to help divers in need of emergency medical assistance and to promote dive safety through education. These interns will spend several months at DAN headquarters in Durham, N.C., working with the Research and Safety Services departments on a variety of projects and research efforts.

Rhiannon Brenner graduated from UNC Wilmington with a degree in anthropology and minors in environmental science and international studies. She has been diving since she was 16, is a divemaster and is passionate about scuba and the environment. She is excited to be working with DAN Research to participate in studies with divers and to better our understanding of dive physiology.

Grant Dong is president of his dive club at the University of Maryland and a divemaster candidate. Grant just graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in physiology and neurobiology, and he is currently applying for medical school. During his time with DAN Research Grant hopes to merge his love of diving and passion for medicine.

Gabriel Graf is a rising sophomore at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, and is pursuing a biochemistry degree with minors in ethics and data science. Gabe is an Eagle Scout and an active diver. Gabe will be an intern with DAN Research this summer and hopes to pursue graduate school to continue research in human genetics and synthetic biology.

Benjamin Kistler is studying biology at Indiana University Bloomington. He will graduate in the spring of 2022 and will begin medical school that fall. Ben is an advanced open water diver and has done academic research on cardiac and urinary point-of-care-ultrasounds. Ben, the Our World Underwater Scholarship Society-sponsored intern, will be working with DAN Research this summer as the Diver’s Health and Safety intern.

Christine Tamburri graduated in May 2020 from Penn State University with a degree in geosciences. During her undergraduate career she contributed to the expansion of the university’s scuba program and is passionate about using diving to further historical research in local communities. Christine was selected to work with DAN Safety Services last year, but as the program was canceled she’ll be completing her internship this summer.

“I’m always impressed by the accomplishments and professionalism of the interns that come spend time with us here at DAN,” said Bill Ziefle, DAN president and CEO. “This year’s group is already demonstrating impressive aptitude in the projects they’re involved with in DAN Research and DAN Safety Services. We’re glad they’re here!”

Join the DAN community or learn more at DAN.org.

Photo Caption: Clockwise from top right – Grant Dong, Christine Tamburri, Gabriel Graf, Rhiannon Brenner, Benjamin Kistler.

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Competitions

Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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