ABU DHABI DIVERS PLUMB DEPTHS TO REMOVE TRASH
On World Cleanup Day, September 17, the diving clubs of Abu Dhabi showed solidarity by joining forces to tackle the murky depths of Al Mirfa Fishing Port. Al Mirfa is located 160km west of Abu Dhabi City.
The Emirates Diving Association, ERWDA (Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency), Al Mirfa Hotel, Al Mirfa Municipality and the Marine Police worked in collaboration to organise an under water cleanup in the Marawah Marine Protected Area (MMPA). The cleaners included fifty divers, 15 men from Al Mirfa municipality and six volunteers who worked to pick up rubbish along the beach.
Ashraf Al Subahy (head of MMPA) said the reason the cleanup was going ahead was due to the big accumulation of rubbish along the bay. Dr Mark Beech, who accompanied the clean up in order to establish patterns from the rubbish which was collected, thought the dive may turn up ancient stone anchors and old pottery similar to his findings on Marawah Island, some of which date back 7,000 years. Although no ancient findings were uncovered, the things gathered were in fact examples of 21st century archaeological artefacts, and Dr. Beech was able to identify that some of the rubbish makers were in fact fishermen from Kerala!
The team of fifty divers was split into different groups with each group covering an area of the Port. Father and Son team Mohammed and Huda Malhas worked together in the water whilst daughter Rayan gave a helping hand from the shore. The amount of rubbish bought up within the space of the two hours dive was phenomenal. The huge pile included 483 plastic bottles, 136 beverage cans, 149 plastic bags and 6 rubber tyres. Amongst the more peculiar finds, were a child's scooter fully intact, and the back of a TV.
Organiser Kathleen Russell said, "Activities like beach cleanups involve the whole of the Abu Dhabi diving community. It gives the dive clubs the chance to get together and work for a common objective. The aim is to act locally but participate globally, as last weekend brought with it International Cleanup Day. It is important that we try to counteract the devastating effects that rubbish pollution has on our local waters."
Rui Reis who participated in the dive added, "Although visibility was poor, and the silt was half a metre thick in places, a lot of rubbish was collected. It is an interesting idea and is good because it promotes awareness of the environment. We have to realise that what goes underwater does not disappear, it stays there, especially plastic".
GASCO had the biggest team of ten divers and provided medical services with a nurse on standby and a re-hydration tent. Head of GASCO diving club, Maher Al Wazir said, "Environmental campaigns are supported by the management according to the GASCO policy which treats environmental aspects with a lot of concern."
In addition to this beach clean up over three hundred divers and volunteers under the organisation of the Emirates Diving Association have been working over the weekend to clean beaches throughout Khor Fakkan and Fujairah.