Dive Against Debris – April 2019

Katie, from Algalita, sorting through marine debris.

On Sunday, April 7, 2019 we hosted our monthly Dive Against Debris on Bayshore Beach in Long Beach, CA. During this event, we had 8 divers collect over 230 pieces of debris weighing in at over 15 pounds. The divers spent an average of 50 minutes under water.

Jade Scuba Adventures has “Adopted” Bayshore Beach as a dive site by agreeing to do at least one dive per month at this location to collect, sort, and report debris data at this location. Though this Adopt a Dive Site program through Project Aware, Jade Scuba has been able to compile Data on how much and what types of debris are found underwater. The first reporting at this dive site took place in September of 2018. Since then, 40 Scuba Divers have volunteered over 31 hours of dive time collecting over 1800 pieces of debris, mostly inside the swim zone at depths less than 18 feet.

You have probably heard that straws are an issue in the ocean and they injure marine life. Did you know that approximately 20% of the debris collected at Bayshore Beach has been plastic straws? They are found frequently in the shallower waters, about 5 to 8 feet deep. They are most likely left on the beach and then blow into the water and sink.

Our Dive Against Debris events also include beach cleanup. Ocean Conservancy’s Clean Swell app is how we record the surface debris. Over 7500 pieces of debris have been collected on this beach including over 3500 plastic/foam fragments and 1900 cigarette butts and cigar tips.

You ask how you, as one person can help this problem of marine debris. Participate! Do a beach cleanup- sort and report what you find. Doing the cleanup is half the battle. The other half is having the data to backup the real problem and being able to use it to affect policy change at the local level.

The data that has been collected over the last 6 months at this specific location is being used in Long Beach to affect change. It is being taken to multiple businesses and community leaders to show the problem and recommend changes. One small change that is being affected is reducing/removing the use of plastic sandbag anchors for different events in the swim area and requiring event hosts to use reusable options. Citizen science programs such as Dive Against Debris are extremely valuable tools to affect change by recording and compiling data.

Ocean Sanctuaries out of San Diego , Project Aware out of Rancho Santa Margarita, and Algalita out of Long Beach are key non-profits that assist in these projects locally.

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