Even if you’ve never laid eyes on the ocean, you’ve seen marine debris. You’ve seen it in parking lots, along roadways, in parks, caught in trees. Garbage littering land areas doesn’t remain where it falls–it travels. Some tumbles into roadside ditches and suffocates local plants and wildlife, while much of it gets carried hundreds and even thousands of miles away by waterways and drain systems all the way to the sea. But that doesn’t mean it’s out of sight and out of mind. Once litter is washed away, not only does it do incredible harm to marine ecosystems and threaten already endangered species, it becomes infinitely more difficult to collect and dispose of properly.
Project AWARE sees the end of this ugly journey first hand as its scuba diver network takes action in removing litter from sea beds. Just last year, nearly 3,300 divers helped remove more than 183,828 lbs of trash during 104 Dive Against Debris surveys with Ocean Conservancy. While this and every Project AWARE dive is a huge success for the environments cleared by divers, the problem of marine trash is monumental and only getting bigger with an estimated 250 million metric tons of plastic alone expected to reach the oceans by 2025. That’s why it’s critical to stop marine debris at one of its primary sources: litter. See Project AWARE’s infographic below on what happens when we let stray trash get carried away.
Cut litter off at the source by taking the #1TonLess Marine Debris Prevention Challenge with Travel Well and Project AWARE