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Video Report: Phuket dive boat operators join forces for cleaner reefs

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PHUKET: Dive boat operators of all creeds, and all certification affiliations, banded together last weekend to clean popular Phuket dive sites ahead of the high season.

Nine boats, including one sport-fishing vessel, piled on about 200 participants and spent the day at various dive sites including Anemone Reef, Shark Point, Koh Mai Thon and many others.

About 2,000kg of trash, much of it discarded netting and fishing line was untangled from the corals and taken to the surface.

“The goal was to clean up the local dive sites in Phuket and bring dive centers, instructors and fellow divers together to ‘Dive Against Debris’,” explained Andy Auer, PADI Thailand west coast regional manager.

“We want to create an awareness for everyone who uses the local dive sites to be more environmentally friendly and send a message that show that dive centers and the dive community can work together on projects for the local community and the environment.”

It wasn’t just the reefs that received a quick scrub before they were once again showcased to divers from around the world. Thailand’s premier SSI dive center, Sea Bees, joined forces with DoubleTree Resort to clean Had Ao Muang Muang beach on Koh Yao Yai.

“Non-diving volunteers and our staff collected 64 bags of rubbish including polystyrene, plastics, glass, rope, netting and a few toothbrushes!” Sea Bees Marketing Manager Simone Allene said.

The highlight of the event, however, was not just removing rubbish from the sea, but noting a decline in the found amount on the reefs, PADI Instructor Examiner Robert Scammell told the Phuket Gazette.

“It was very good to see that there is a decline in the amount of rubbish needed to be removed, demonstrating the continued efforts, not just once a year, but throughout the year, of Thailand’s dive industry to help keep our oceans clean.

“This annual event helps unite the dive industry in a dedicated effort to preserve our dive sites and help raise industry and public awareness about the importance of keeping our reefs healthy and clean. If we don’t have a nice ‘office’ no one will want to come see it,” Mr Scammell said.

This year’s coordinated cleanup effort was a departure from the last two years, which had an enormously successful first year with the establishment of Go Eco Phuket. However, it was time to get back to the basics – cleaning the reefs, explained one of the boat operators.

“The date was set to coincide with the start of the season… We wanted to get back to the main task of cleaning the reefs without having to worry about sponsorship, preferring to be self funded, as we had in the past. The day was a huge success,” local boat operator Sarah Kench of Scuba Cat said.

YouTube video
Divers gather to give Phuket’s reefs a quick makeover before high season. Video: PGTV

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

 

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