PADI AWARE Week takes place 14-22 September, and we at OrcaNation are proud supporters of Project AWARE’s mission!
Project AWARE is a non-profit organisation founded in 1992, stemming from PADI’s environmental principles in the late 1980’s. Throughout the past 27 years, PADI AWARE has partnered with many organisations to educate individuals on important issues facing the oceans and inspire governments to take actions to conserve our marine environment. Some of their most notable achievements include creating PADI specialty courses in various aspects of ocean conservation, campaigning and succeeding in the protection of many shark and ray species across the world, and creating the Dive Against Debris and Adopt a Dive Site programmes to collect data on the trash in our oceans. The Dive Against Debris programme was the first, and still the only, underwater trash collection survey. This is incredibly important as it can provide information on the state of marine pollution and help influence policy change worldwide.
Here on Rawa Island we have been participating in the Adopt a Dive Site programme on our House Reef since June 2017.
We’ve joined over 200 other dive centres and resorts in making the commitment to monthly Dives Against Debris, each in the same location. Since 2017, OrcaNation has removed over 700 pieces of trash from our reef, weighing approximately 365 kg. With the help of school groups, fun divers and staff members alike, our conservation team collects and reports the types and amount of trash removed to Project AWARE. In 2018, 67% of trash removed from our House Reef was plastic. This highlights just how much of a problem plastic pollution is in our oceans; which is why PADI AWARE Week activities this year are targeted towards creating awareness of plastic pollution and encouraging divers to follow the Dive Against Debris motto of “making every dive a survey dive”. With this in mind, OrcaNation will be kicking off PADI AWARE Week 2019 with our monthly Adopt a Dive Site dive on 14 September, and bringing mesh bags along on every fun dive during the week to educate our divers on the importance of protecting our oceans.
If you aren’t able to participate in a PADI AWARE week 2019 event, here are some of Project AWARE’s tips for being more environmentally friendly in and out of the water:
- Help keep fragile marine life safe and intact by perfecting your buoyancy. Make sure to streamline all of your equipment and keep your body in trim position off of the reef to ensure you are not coming into contact with any coral or stirring up the sediment.
- Almost everything natural in the ocean is there for a reason. By removing anything from dive sites, the balance can be disrupted and have a negative effect on local creatures.
- Marine pollution can be extremely detrimental to the ocean environment by injuring or killing wildlife and destroying their habitat. If you see anything that doesn’t belong in the water, collect it and record the data for Project AWARE.
- Share your knowledge of the ocean with fellow divers and non-divers. Help with conservation efforts and commit to protecting the marine environment.
- Lead a more sustainable lifestyle out of the water. Take steps towards reducing your energy us and waste produced by your household.
These are just a handful of small things everyone can do to help keep the oceans a healthy and beautiful place for us to explore. You can also scuba dive with OrcaNation on Rawa Island for a Dive Against Debris during PADI AWARE Week, the second Saturday of every month for the Adopt a Dive Site clean-up, or any day of the year!