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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Padi urges UAE divers to help preserve the ocean from plastic

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors has launched a programme to encourage responsible scuba practices

The new project is the world’s first and only underwater debris data-collection programme of its kind operating on a global scale year-round. Antonie Robertson / The National
The new project is the world’s first and only underwater debris data-collection programme of its kind operating on a global scale year-round. Antonie Robertson / The National

UAE divers are being encouraged to help defend and preserve the marine environment through a project tackling ocean pollution.

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors, Padi, and Project AWARE, a global non-profit organisation, are working together to encourage responsible dive practices and to mobilise the UAE’s dive community through a project called Dive Against Debris.

The project is the world’s first and only underwater debris data collection programme of its kind, operating on a global scale year-round and yielding data about the items found on the seabed.

It’s designed to teach divers how to safely remove debris and how to classify and record it into a global database.

“As diving professionals, we play a crucial role in the protection of our world’s oceans,” said Nicola Liddell, PADI course director and manager at Divers Down Dubai.

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More than 50,000 divers from over 114 countries, including the UAE, have since 2011 taken part in an effort to clean up the ocean and build evidence to shine a light on the global marine litter crisis.

In the UAE alone, almost 8,800 pieces of debris have been logged since the initiative started, with 66 per cent of that being plastic.

The most common items found include single-use plastics such as utensils.

This month, in celebration of the ocean, PADI and Project AWARE are bringing divers from all over the world together for the first international AWARE Week from 15-23 September 2018.

The event will include activities focused on tackling ocean pollution, creating awareness for vulnerable shark and ray species, and empowering local communities to take protect their marine environment.

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