The Largest Dive Friends Bonaire Clean Up Ever!
Dive Friends Bonaire has been hosting our world famous quarterly underwater clean-up for over 10 years. This past Saturday, January 23, 2016 we’re proud to say that had the biggest turnout EVER with 135 volunteer divers! We also had additional on-land support teams of the Dive Friends Bonaire crew to help divers in and out of the water and our non-diving team to sort and count the estimated 1 ton of garbage collected!
The cleanup site was Karel’s Pier, on which the popular local hangout Karel’s Beach Bar is located. After signing in and receiving a safety briefing from Asko Zuidam of Dive Friends Bonaire, the mass of volunteers gathered their gear and drove down the boulevard to the clean-up location. The boulevard is a one way street with very limited parking so the volunteers exhibited excellent coordination and teamwork while they quickly unloaded the vehicles to prevent blocking traffic for too long. This spirit of cooperation continued throughout the dive as bag after bag of trash was brought to the surface.
The volunteers were very careful not to remove any living creatures and left those items behind on which coral was happily growing. They also took extra care when removing fishing line as not to damage any delicate sponges nearby. Once the trash was out of the water, Dive Friends Staff collected the bags and brought them to Dive Friends Bonaire @ Yellow Submarine where a team of surface volunteers sorted and counted all the items for Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris program. They also ensured no marine creatures had accidentally been collected before disposing of the waste responsibility.
As mentioned above, the clean-up site is host to a popular beach bar resulting in a lot of beverage containers being collected (687 glass, 23 plastic and 122 aluminum) in addition to 351 plastic and 635 glass fragments. 11 ceramic and 192 plastic pieces of cutlery/tableware were also found and some people also lost their shoes (3) or sunglasses (8).
Karel’s Pier is also a popular area for mooring fishing boats resulting in 103 pieces of fishing line, 46 pieces of rope, 2 tires, a plastic buoy and several large metal pieces from boats. In total 2,714 pieces of debris were removed from the reef, with a total estimated weight of 1000Kg!
The day finished with a massive BBQ and raffle for the volunteers and their families at Dive Friends Bonaire @ Hamlet Oasis. The drinks and main courses were provided by Dive Friends Bonaire and the volunteers each brought a side dish potluck style. Of course, plastic cutlery and dishware are not environmentally friendly so the Dive Friends staff spent several hours doing the dishes for everyone afterward.
Proud sponsors for the event include: Beachcomber Villas, Bonaire East Coast Diving, Van Den Tweel, Sea Turtle Conservation Bonaire, Selibon, La Cantina Restaurant, Freestyle Pop Up Restaurant, Trident Dive, Ocean Reef ITC Bonaire, Lavacore, Suunto and DAN World.
The next quarterly Dive Friends Bonaire underwater cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, April 9th, 2016. Don’t miss it!