Gold Coast-based environmental group Environmental Divers are about to undertake the longest continuous Project Aware Foundation Dive for Debris survey ever conducted on the Gold Coast Seaway: 365 Diveable Days of Debris.
This mammoth undertaking, organised by Gold Coast local divers Kelly (Kelz) Fletcher and her partner Chris, aims to highlight the mammoth problem that marine debris – in particular plastic pollution and fishing debris – really is for our oceans.
Each day the couple will lead volunteers on an underwater clean-up, or a beach clean-up when the weather or visibility is bad, working with the Project AWARE Foundation and logging the data daily via the My Oceans page.
Kelz and Chris have already recruited many different divers to join them over the 365 days of diving, and they also have support from partners including Project Aware Foundation, Gold Coast Waterways Authority, PADI, Sea World Research, Rescue and Conservation, Queensland Scuba Diving Company, Professional Dive Services and Devocean Dive.
The Survey will include the South West Wall, Wavebreak Island, South Wall, Effluent Pipe, Sand Pipe and North Wall areas, with the organisation’s various partners assisting to get volunteer teams to sites that require a boat.”
We asked Kelz what inspired her to undertake this project.
“In 2016, I won the Waterway Champion Award and People’s Choice award at the Healthy Waterways Awards dinner and realised as a result that really, we needed to work harder to get the Marine Debris message out there and motivate more people to do something about it.
“I do not want to have to apologise to the next generation because we saw what was happening and did nothing. That’s why we do a clean-up dive every available opportunity. As a group, Environmental Divers has always set itself challenges like the 100kg Australia Day and 250kg Easter Weekend clean-up events we have held in the past.
“Scuba Divers have the perfect opportunity to highlight the issues beneath the surface and advocate for change.”
Environmental Divers will also be working with school groups, holding educational sessions offering kids a behind the scenes look at the problems caused by marine debris.
Project AWARE will use the data collected to highlight the issue that is Marine Debris.
“This also means our data is accessible to anyone at any time via the Project AWARE Foundation page, and freely shared to all interested agencies whether they be government or other not for profits that can benefit from the data and use it for forward planning.”
The Gold Coast Seaway and Broadwater are part of the second largest Waterways system in the world (second to Miami, Florida) so the perfect place to conduct the longest continuous marine debris survey ever conducted.
And the project doesn’t end on December 31 2018. According to Kelz, “we have committed to 365 diveable days however, so we will keep going beyond 2018 until we have completed 365 underwater clean-ups.”
Environmental Divers is a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission. We have been running entirely self-funded for four years.
“Every dive is a clean-up dive for us 😉”
If you would like to contribute, Environmental Divers welcome all volunteers with PADI Open Water Diver Certification (or equivalent) to join them, either on a 365 Diveable Days clean-up or one of their Monthly Maintenance Dives. Details can be found on the Environmental Divers Facebook Page.
You can also make a donation on Environmental Divers Go Fund Me Page.
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