Are You Aware
 

A little bit goes a very long way!!!

PADI Project AWARE

 

Project AWARE was set up to educate and encourage members of the public along with other interested parties to preserve our aquatic environment for future generations. That of course is a worthy aim I guess, but what does that have to do with you and I and more importantly, how exactly are we supposed to help? Why should we!?

We've all seen the films of Humpback whales being hunted by Norwegian and Japanese whaling fleets in the pursuit of 'Scientific research'. We've also seen the small craft and ships chasing them in an effort to stop the slaughter. Well, the money to run and crew those small ships comes from Project Aware and similar funding schemes. Coral reefs across the world, yes the very one's we all dive on, are under massive threat not just from that good old easily blamed Global Warming, but from ridiculous things such as plastic bags and other consumer rubbish.

Sea Lions
Ships Telegraph

That's all well and good, but what can we do about it? Well every time that we run a trip to the Red Sea or some other popular diving destination, just about every diver surfaces with a handful of rubbish collected from the reef at least once during the week away. Things like plastic water bottles, plastic bags, tin cans etc. This stuff is just thrown over the side of boats or dumped on the beach and ends up getting washed onto the reef for us to look at when we get bored with the stunning coral! Project Aware, amongst other things, sets up education programs to let the local population know just what they are doing to their own environment and our dive sites. If the local environment isn't damaged through ignorance, we are more inclined to visit and this in turn boosts their standard of living and our holiday experience. Local wildlife is protected as a result so seals and turtles don't suffocate inside plastic bags and fish don't die in discarded fishing nets. Simple really.

Closer to home, Project Aware set up the 'Preserve our Wrecks' program where the very shipwrecks we are priviliged to dive on here in the UK are monitered. They have successfully campaigned to have certain wrecks designated as War Graves in order to protect them. In practice this means that as divers, we are welcome to dive and view these fabulous vessels but are not allowed to interfere with them i.e. remove items that we find. Over two World Wars, many crews went down with their ship or aircraft and these wrecks are their final resting places. That's pretty close to home isn't it? The funding for these and hundreds of other similar projects across the UK and the World, places that you and I like to visit as divers, is very rarely funded by government bodies, it's down to you and I.

That's why here at Dive Odyssea, we hold such things as beach clean up days during the summer. We all meet at a local stretch of coast and help clear a small portion of rubbish. At the end of the day we all head off to a local pub or such like for a well earned pint knowing that in a small way, we've done just a little bit towards keeping our bit of the planet a nicer place.

You don't have to get that hands on if you don't want to, it's not everyone's cup of tea. What you could do though is to contribute financially. All that education and saving the planet doesn't come cheap! Don't panic, all we are asking you to do is to log-on to www.projectaware.org and give a couple of quid.

What we do here at Dive Odyssea is to levy a five pound fee on top of the cost of the PADI Open Water Course and this is sent directly to project Aware. It is entirely voluntary and if a student doesn't want to contribute, we deduct it from the price of the course. In return, you get a PADI Open Water Diver certification card showing that you donated to Project Aware together with a warm glowing tingly feeling that you did just a little bit more towards helping the environment as well as helping to preserve the very reefs and other sites you'll be diving on. Is that easy or what!!!

Dorset Maerl project