A Sea of Plastic

Looking out to Brighton Pier
Looking out to Brighton Pier

The amount of rubbish washed into the sea is estimated at 8+ million tons every year. Recently, CSIRO has completed a survey of sites approximately every 100 km along the Australian coastline. This body of work represents the largest scale, integrated, rigorous data to have been collected anywhere in the world aimed at addressing the marine debris issue.

“Most is from Australian sources, not from overseas, with debris concentrated near urban centres. In coastal and offshore waters, most floating debris is plastic. The density of plastic ranges from a few thousand pieces of plastic per square kilometre to more than 40,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometre.”

Thousands of divers are standing against this and removing litter from the ocean on their dives. These “underwater clean-ups” are done under a variety of banners, but all with the same goal: to remove the harmful marine debris from the ocean, one dive at a time, whilst educating others about the necessity of doing so, and of ways of preventing the debris initially. Local Academy of Scuba (AOS) has for a long time been part of Project AWARE’s ‘Dive Against Debris’ initiative – by performing monthly clean up dives of various sites around the Bay.

Recently, AOS adopted Mordialloc Pier, a dive site with a resident mussel colony as well as seahorses, rays and various other fish. However, the site is also famed for being an underwater junkyard, and our monthly clean ups here are aimed at turning the tide against marine debris.

This would not be possible without divers and staff who brave all conditions, meeting with enthusiasm and energy, always ready to bring up as much debris as they possibly can. In the last four months, roughly 45kg of marine debris has been taken out of Mordialloc Pier alone, the majority being plastics and metal. Dives Against Debris are open to anyone with their Open Water certification (or equivalent) and above, and plans are underway to get more people involved by conducting beach clean ups whilst the divers remove trash underwater.

As long as there is trash in the ocean, there will be divers removing it. Though an individual action may seem to have little consequence, the accumulative actions of divers worldwide cannot be ignored. The ripple effects are evident, and the AOS is proud to continue to make waves with our awesome divers and staff by Diving Against Debris. If you would like to be involved, we would love you to get in touch.

Academy of Scuba
1124 Toorak Road, Camberwell
Phone 9889 9952
academyofscuba.com.au