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Opinions on the "Do's and Don'ts" of collecting rubbish while diving

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by SaltyGypsie, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. SaltyGypsie

    SaltyGypsie Garibaldi

    Hey guys, hope everyone is well!

    So here is the story, sorry it will be a slightly long post...

    A few years ago I helped organise a Clean Up Australia Day diving event where some volunteers and I cleaned up under a jetty in South Australia. The result was many bags of trash consisting of plastics, metals, fishing line and all kinds of other stuff. It annoyed me so much that I compiled a report on what was found, the dangers of this trash and also some snaps of fish and other living things I have found dead or injured from left over fishing gear and rubbish, and submitted to the local government to apply for funding to clean up under the jetties for a full time job. Basically, the government replied with something along the lines of "but there are bins on the jetty"...

    Anyway, I was interested in some opinions on collecting rubbish when diving. As we all know, fishing line lasts forever and whilst tangled around the jetties, plants and sponges grow on and around it. Living things find their way into bottles and cans. Creatures hide under bigger objects. What do you think about this and how do you collect? Does removing tangled fishing line cause so much damage to the plants and sponges and corals that it is not worth collecting?

    The reason for this post is I have been considering starting a crowd funding page to raise funds to support this kind of clean up diving around Australia. I was going to use video and photos of the rubbish I find, and the process of cleaning up on instagram and youtube to raise awareness of what is finding its way into our oceans, and the damage it causes. I have a motorhome and am more than happy to clean my way around Australias jetties, and would welcome any divers i meet along the way to help with this cause.

  2. jadairiii

    jadairiii Solo Diver

    Use common sense. Before I "collect" any trash I always assess its location and consider will I cause more damage by removing it. Glass bottles and cans are special since they can actually become home for other critters. I will normally leave glass bottles since (IMO) they are envior-neutral. If the cans are new and fresh looking they come out, but if the cans are covered with life or have fish in them they stay. Plastic bag go pretty much no matter what. If it is super old fishing line that has grown into the reef, i will cut out what I can.
  3. caydiver

    caydiver Manta Ray

    I tend to agree. Use common sense. There are many sources where you can find info on this from the many organizations that are out there cleaning our oceans. They offer all kinds of great info from both a scientific and hands on experience points of view.
    Dark Wolf likes this.
  4. yle

    yle Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
    I always remove plastic (including discarded fishing line) when possible. I leave glass bottles. Not only do the bottles become their own little artificial reefs, with something taking up residence, but there's also the possibility they could break when being transported out of the water.
  5. Frosty

    Frosty Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Auckland NZ
    This is a subject dear to my heart. I would love to see every instructor,AI and DM carry a catch bag on every dive. Imagine the trash that would be removed if we picked up just one item every dive.
    uiowa96 likes this.
  6. dmaziuk

    dmaziuk Regular of the Pub

  7. lamarpaulski

    lamarpaulski Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Calif.
    I think fishing line/plastic bags/netting is usually worth removing. After diving harbors a lot I came to conclusion a lot of ‘junk’ becomes home to a lot of critters. It might offend our sense of esthetics but really what is the purpose ?
  8. jlcnuke

    jlcnuke Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: acworth ga
    Any trash that is there and obviously has not started becoming "part of the environment" in any way is something I remove if I can safely. Anything with "life" associated with it I leave alone as nature has reclaimed it or is starting to reclaim it for its own purposes. Anything in that category that is an obvious hazard still I try to mitigate the hazard (for instance, if a coral head has grown around a line, such that removal would obviously be damaging, I'd try to cut/ cut off the parts that could be done so without damaging the coral or other life around it.

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