Use Some Common Sense On Reef Clean Ups
Reef clean ups are undoubtedly important events for the both marine life and the local communities that share the resources. Toxic materials, plastics, fishing nets all need to be removed but we can get a little enthusiastic with items that are possibly home for marine life. So please slow down and take a moment to think.
It’s Not A Competition
The important thing is that the reefs are clean and not the group photo of how many tonnes of rubbish you collected at the end of the day, in fact it would be great if the boats come back with next to nothing to show, it would suggest the message is getting across. Divers are much more aware of the pollution issue nowadays and many clean as they go, I know all of our guides do, we even supply underwater trash collecting bags for guests – Upcycling The Ocean
Some Trash Can Be Left Alone
Glass bottles are an item that we often see collected on clean up days but what harm can they do? After all they’re made of sand, it’s also quite common to see octopus and gobies make them a home. So have a good look to make sure your good intentions aren’t making somebody homeless. Metal pipes, pieces of wood and other debris can be home to morays, shrimps and other crustaceans
Old car tyres for some mysterious reason appear on almost every dive site regardless of how remote it is – the underwater version of an Irish bar, but again they very often have animals living inside. There’s no doubt they are toxic for the environment and experiments with tyre reefs have been a massive failure but does that outweigh possibly killing the creatures that have made it a home.
There’s a couple of motorbikes at the Racha’s still with tyres on and the harruby wreck has tyres hanging from it but we wouldn’t think of removing them.
Different Sites, Different Approach
It’s no secret that the entire region suffered from coral bleaching a few years back which drastically changed the habitat. With the lack of more natural homes the marine animals will adapt to what ever is around. Our Phuket dive sites that are really lacking in coral could probably do with a less vigorous approach to clean ups. Our many sites that still have plenty of healthy coral can be treated a little differently because the animals do have somewhere else to go.
Size Isn’t Everything
Not everyone can find that one tonne fishing net or car engine to triumphantly bring back to the boat so make sure you don’t ignore the small plastic items. We picked up over 100 hundred plastic cutlery items from Kata Reef this morning on a very short dive. It may not look as glorious but it makes a difference. Removing even the most minute pieces of plastic will help so don’t be intimidated by the size of others collection – every bit counts.
Keep Up The Good Work
Our regular Phuket reef clean ups have definitely helped and the amount of garbage coming back to shore is definitely less. So again, don’t be disappointed if you don’t come back with too much because it’s a good thing.
We have a big reef clean up going on in Phuket tomorrow and I for one will be happy if the pile of trash on the pier at the end of the day is not quite the mountain it used to be. It simply means more awareness which after all is the long term goal and only solution to fixing the problem.
So keep up the good work, stop, think, use a bit of common sense and most importantly have fun while you’re doing it!
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