Help us to protect our oceans today – join us at PADI Aware Week 2022

 In Life in Taganga, Ocean Conservation, Marine Life @Tayrona National Park

Ocean conservation week is right around the corner.  It starts on September 17th.  I am excited that I’ve gotten to be involved in a bit of the planning process – as I have subsequently learned a lot about the ocean’s health.  I don’t know about you – but, I’ve always loved diving.  I thought I knew a decent amount about trash and recycling, and how it impacts the ocean’s health.  But, being involved in this week has made me do a much deeper dive (ha!) and turns out – I had a lot to learn!

For instance, did you know that 8 million tons of plastic waste enter the ocean every year?!  Plastic has been found in over 700 marine species and 44% of seabirds.  Global plastic production exceeds 3 million tons a year, but only 10% is recycled.  I also did not know that not all plastics are recyclable.  There are seven different forms of plastics – and they are made from different resins.  Those resins melt at different temperatures, meaning that they have to be separated to be able to be recycled.  This means that keeping those plastic bottle tops on a bottle, can prevent the bottle from being recycled.  Also some companies have recyclable bottles, but use labels which make it impossible to recycle.  If we don’t make some pretty significant efforts, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Another important aspect to this crisis is that there are people in Colombia, within various cities, who go through trash and remove the recyclable material and sell it for recycling.  Although they often make little money, they form an incredibly important function.  It wasn’t until 2021 that these workers started fighting for their rights.  Considering the potential dangers of going through trash, these workers deserve acknowledgement and protection.  Without their efforts, the situation would be considerably worse.

An important thing to know, is that despite it being an uphill battle, there are many things that can be done.  In fact, some companies are doing some very exciting things.  For instance, there is a company in Bogota that is creating houses from recycled products!  I also learned that everything from roads, to toothbrushes to coffins can be made from recycled materials!

But – more importantly – what can you do?  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – and I’m going to add – advocate.

Reduce

What are you doing to reduce the amount of single-use plastics you use?

  • Easy asks:
    • Get a water bottle and refill it rather than buying bottled water.
    • Use a reusable grocery bag. Apparently, one person using reusable grocery bags saves anywhere from 100-500 plastic bags a year!
    • Buy a bamboo toothbrush
    • Purchase a razor that you can replace the blade, rather than buying disposable razors.
    • Buy a soda machine – make your soda at home.
  • Slightly more time consuming
    • Send letters to your favorite companies and encourage them to use zero-waste products.
    • Write to your government officials and ask them to support legislation that adopt zero waste principles and fight back against the expansion of petrochemical facilities that make plastic.
    • Research which companies are the worst offenders of using plastic and/or labels that complicate the recycling process. Boycott them.  Encourage others to do the same.
    • Support companies that are attending to these problems with your wallet.

Reuse

  • Can you repurpose those plastics, rather than sending them to the landfill?
  • Make art!
  • Reuse products rather than trashing them. Even Ziploc bags can be washed and reused.

Recycle

  • Learn about recycling in your area!  Not all plastic can be recycled.  Products with food on it cannot be recycled.  Wishful recycling does not help (and can actually harm recycling efforts).  No – you cannot recycle that grocery bag!

 

PADI AWARE WEEK PROGRAM

And finally, but certainly not least, come to our events!  It’s going to be such a fun week!  Here is what we have in store:

Sept. 17 – Our morning starts with a beach and dive clean up in the bay of Taganga. The afternoon we spend in the dive center to build an artwork made of ocean plastics. In the evening we will have a fundraiser with drinks and second-hand/artesania shop and some live music in our back yard.

Sep. 18 – Our clean up dive will be in the bay of Santa Marta. Togehter with Global Sailing we will leave from the international marina of Santa Marta. Limited spaces for snorkelers and divers!

Sept. 18-23 – On our daily morning boat trips to Tayrona Park we will clean up the dive sites and beaches of Tayrona Park.  Further we will provide you with daily tips through our social media on how to reduce, reuse, and recycle and as well some interesting facts about ocean pollution.

Sept. 24 – In the afternoon we are planning a meetup at the dive shop to watch some performance about ocean plastic pollution from our friends of MarArte Foundation Taganga. Join us and experience an unforgetable artwork! And if you can show us what you know about ocean plastic pollution you can win some amazing prices at our quiz game at the end.

Sept. 25 – On the last day of PADI Aware week we will sumarize our efforts and tipps on how to make an impact! Stay tuned and follow us on Instagram to learn about our conservation efforts!

Come join us!  We’re going to have so much fun – while making a difference!

 

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