How to handle trash?

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Patoux01

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Heya, back again :).

Went out on my usual summer dive site, drop down to 4 meters, start swimming around a bit, when I find a semi decomposed tin can. Well, let's grab it and I'll put it away neatly after the dive. Look up, "Hey, that's another one, and there, and there, and there", and my hands are full. I go and place everything on a jetty where I can take it later. Drop down again, and within 3 minutes my hands are full again. Kept going for a solid 5 hours (in a few dives).

Here's some pictures of what one diver can get out of a lake in a few hours, in a "clean" lake (yes, yes, it's said to be a clean lake! :poke:). I don't think any picture shows the same items.

IMG_20170731_172834.jpg
IMG_20170804_123958.jpg
IMG_20170809_160917.jpg


However, this lead me to a question... especially when talking to people from the dive club nearby when filling my tanks. The discussion basically went:
-I guess you know how dirty it is there?
-Yes
-And do you ever do something about it?
-Yeah, when I see a glass bottle I bury it in the sand...
-That's it?
-Kind of, we also clean the harbor once a year in winter. (the harbor is about the same size as the dive spot where I dive)
-Oh, okay.

So when they asked if I wanted to join them for a dive, I was kinda confused. I can't just "swim by" trash. If it doesn't belong there, I'm taking it out... (I have some tolerance for wrecks). I also don't like the laws regarding diving in France, so didn't really want to mess with that again, so I just declined.

Now the questions:
1) How do you react to stuff like that underwater? Tin cans, broken glass bottles, metal sheets, ... :idk:
2) If you take it out, what do you do with it? Everything in the incinerables/landfill, or can such glass and plastic still be recycled?
3) Which drygloves can handle the abuse of working with metal for more than 2 dives? Although I guess I'll have to be more careful as well...
4) When to know if it should be taken out or not, eg there's mussels growing in/on a metal barrel?
5) I know glass could be left in the water as it "doesn't cause harm" when it's deep enough, but most glass is in the shallow ends where kids (and myself) sometimes walk around. Even when it's deep, it feels wrong to leave it there, is that just me?

Sidenote: I also found some "cool" stuff, like this part of jaw of a cow (I think), and what would be a french army boot from WW2 (now going to a local museum apparently). I didn't take an isolated picture of it because it didn't seem like something that was really unique. I'm also not diving on known archeological sites, and I had already found like 6 (recent) boots/watershoes. Also found an amazing knife, but yeah, not gonna use that, gave it away.
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Sorry for the long post :coffee:
 

yle

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If you find too much trash to reasonably pick up yourself, maybe you could organize your own "clean up day". It would give a lot of divers the opportunity to meet each other and spread awareness of the cause.

I generally pick up any plastic trash I find when diving from the beach, if I can stuff it in my bcd pocket, but I leave glass bottles in place. Sometimes critters, especially octopus, take up residence in glass bottles. So they essentially become part of the habitat and should be treated as such.
 

Tug

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I do the same as yle. I'll stick stuff in my drysuit pockets or a catch bag if I have one. Glass bottles get left unless they are old ones then I take them up to clean and display.
 

stuartv

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Kudos to you for some good work!

3) Which drygloves can handle the abuse of working with metal for more than 2 dives? Although I guess I'll have to be more careful as well...

I use relatively thin rubber gloves for my drygloves. And they fit very snugly over my glove liners. If I were going to be doing something that posed a real risk of cutting or puncturing them, I would simply wear some protective gloves over my dry gloves.

I don't know if you have ones like these, over there, but I use them and really like them. And they're only $2 per pair!

Polyurethane Coated Nylon Work Gloves Large
 

RyanT

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Yeah, I always snag random pieces of trash if I see them on a dive.
 

JamesBon92007

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If I'm diving some place where I often find trash I'll bring along my mesh goodie bag, clipped to my waist belt. I have not found anywhere near as much as you have though. A small wheel perhaps, but never a car tire. The lead fishing weights get melted down into belt weights. :)
 

Diver0001

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Heya, back again :).

Went out on my usual summer dive site, drop down to 4 meters, start swimming around a bit, when I find a semi decomposed tin can. Well, let's grab it and I'll put it away neatly after the dive.

It's a horse jaw.

That aside, I think it's admirable to take junk out of the water. It do it as well but I'll admit that I only do it :

- if I believe it is a threat to the wildlife. For example, when I dive in Egypt I often come out of the water with a pocket full of plastic bags that could be deadly to sea turtles
or
- if I believe it is a threat to divers. For example, old bits of netting or mono filament that could potentially create hazards for divers. I learned early on the dangers of junk when I found myself as a new (AOW) diver rescuing another diver at considerable depth (well beyond 40m) because he got caught in a big ball of mono filament and started sinking along a wall.....

A lot of what we see as "junk", however, isn't dangerous to the wildlife and can actually form a habitat. One of the dive sites I go to often has some old tires in it. They were put there on purpose to aid in navigation for divers but if you look inside the tires there are all kinds of crabs, shimp, gobies etc. living in them.

The point I'm making is that aesthetics is not leading here. Taking a tire out of the water may seem like a good idea because it "cleans up" the dive site but if it's not a hazard to divers then removing it may actually reduce the quality of the habitat for critters who were using that tire as a home....

Just a thought.

R..
 
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Patoux01

Patoux01

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It's a horse jaw.
Hmm, that's an interesting one. Might fit indeed. Maybe I should have kept it :confused:. It's probably still lying there, but it's quite a drive. It's nothing spectacular anyway I guess, still fun. Probably something for the next people on that campsite to discuss.
Don't the teeth look kind of funky? The roots seem very far apart on the one that is pulled out, compared to what I can see on google.

A lot of what we see as "junk", however, isn't dangerous to the wildlife and can actually form a habitat. One of the dive sites I go to often has some old tires in it. They were put there on purpose to aid in navigation for divers but if you look inside the tires there are all kinds of crabs, shimp, gobies etc. living in them.

The point I'm making is that aesthetics is not leading here. Taking a tire out of the water may seem like a good idea because it "cleans up" the dive site but if it's not a hazard to divers then removing it may actually reduce the quality of the habitat for critters who were using that tire as a home....

Just a thought.
Yeah... but on the other hand, they decompose, and pollute. And while there are critters that might have used it (although not too much the case here, a few mussels), wouldn't it make sense that those critters "don't belong there" ? By introducing large number of places for eg mussels to hang on to, we are helping the population of mussels increase largely, while they don't belong in those waters that originally have little to no place for them (mud bottom). See why I'm lost? :idk:
It's also hard to find what impact an item has. Apparently, tires don't have as big an impact as one would expect, from what I'm reading at the moment. But the fact I found one pretty much decomposed suggests otherwise to me... Wouldn't they become "micro-rubbers" (much like microplastics) that get ingested by living beings?


@stuartv yeah, protective gloves might do the trick. Just have to find something that fits over my already large hands and that would still let me work the boltsnaps, the regs, the net, cut stuff free etc. I've read about orange waste collector gloves that should be strong enough. I keep seeing the guys from ghost fishing using the standard blue gloves, but I don't know how much metal they handle.



Would anyone know where to find "guidelines" on what to take out or not? I've always seen people remove tires from the lakes, but it seems they pollute more when burnt than underwater (according to the guardian, which, I admit, is not the best reference I could hope for Waste tyres' environmental impact ).
 

Diver0001

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Don't the teeth look kind of funky? The roots seem very far apart on the one that is pulled out, compared to what I can see on google.
A horse is a herbivore. The form of the teeth and the size and shape of the one you pulled out are entirely consistent with other horse skulls I've seen in the past.

Yeah... but on the other hand, they decompose, and pollute. And while there are critters that might have used it (although not too much the case here, a few mussels), wouldn't it make sense that those critters "don't belong there" ? By introducing large number of places for eg mussels to hang on to, we are helping the population of mussels increase largely, while they don't belong in those waters that originally have little to no place for them (mud bottom). See why I'm lost? :idk:
It's also hard to find what impact an item has. Apparently, tires don't have as big an impact as one would expect, from what I'm reading at the moment. But the fact I found one pretty much decomposed suggests otherwise to me... Wouldn't they become "micro-rubbers" (much like microplastics) that get ingested by living beings?

I understand what you are saying and I have to admit that I'm not in a position to authoritatively answer your question. I don't know anything about the microscopic/trace levels of contaminants that something like a tire puts into the (local) environment. I find them ugly when I see them but on the whole what I observe is that they create a habitat.

I can draw to some extent on my own experience. I've been diving for 30+ years and in some cases at sites where wrecks and other man made objects have deteriorated considerably over that period of time. What I've noticed over that time is that:

1) as an object, like a wreck, degrades, collapses, twists, falls apart and disintegrates, that the marine life that uses that habitat adjusts. I don't think fish are anywhere near as attached to the idea that things should never change as people are.

2) the effect of something like a wreck is very localized. Even on very large wrecks I've been on, if you swim 50m or 100m from the wreck the localized habitat that the wreck creates is entirely imperceptible. There is certainly "garbage" in the water that can and does harm marine life but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that more marine life dies in 1 hour of human fishing than has died from the combined effect of all the "garbage habitats" on the planet since human beings learned how to walk upright.

I like seafood a much as the next guy (I like it a lot and I eat seafood multiple times a week) but frankly if all people were to avoid eating seafood for just a few days it would probably do more to help the oceans than taking all of the tires out of the ocean combined.

That's never where these discussions go, however. We worry incessantly about the micro effects of a single tire on a single crab while at the same time we ravage the oceans at unsustainable levels so we can eat our shrimp cocktail appetizers while we muse about the ambiance of the restaurant we chose that day.....

We have to keep this stuff in perspective.

R..
 

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