In one of our recent blogs we discussed our privilege as divers and as a minority of the human population to actually witness the wonders of the underwater world. Our oceans, the lungs of our planet, cover over two thirds of the Earth’s surface. Our oceans are in grave distress from climate change, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, marine debris, radiation, over fishing,and widespread pollution.
At Wicked Diving we take our responsibility to the ocean seriously. We aim to practice environmental stewardship, taking care of the nature we visit and making sure to leave it in even better condition than we found it, both for locals and for future generations. We need your help! Read on for some easy steps you can take to help protect and take care of the ocean through ethical diving, which extends to action you can take when back on land.
#saynotoplastic – Whether it’s in the shape of a bag, a straw, cutlery, a food container: Just Say No to plastic. Plastic has entered the food chain and besides being a risk to human health, many marine animals mistake plastic for food. Filter feeders such as Manta Rays and Baleen whales feed on the smallest particles in the ocean by opening their mouths up wide and eating anything on their path, unable to differentiate between microscopic pieces of plastic from of the plankton and krill they normally eat. Seabirds such as Albatross skim the ocean surface and regurgitate into the mouths of their young, resulting in many chicks dying from blocked digestives tracks, evidenced by the tragic image of a carcass that is more plastic than bone.
What you can do – Avoid disposable plastics and instead bring a reusable fabric bag (or treat yourself to one from the Wicked Diving shop) and use bamboo, metal or glass straws on your dive trip and in life. Choose reusable or biodegradable containers when transporting food (takeaway or groceries). And, if you accidentally do get a plastic bag, put it to good use and do a little beach cleanup.
#andtosingleusebatteries – Say no to single-use batteries. Batteries contains heavy metals and toxic chemicals, that can be very harmful to the environment and lead to water pollution, if not disposed of properly.
What you can do – Rechargeable batteries are cheaper in the long run and being rechargeable, allow you to embark on extended adventures without worrying about running out of juice while at sea.
#sharksarefriendsnotfood #oracessories – Sharks have been around for more than 400 million years. Encountering a shark while diving in Thailand is a highlight for many divers, but unfortunately a rare treat. A documented 12,000 sharks are killed by humans every hour…yes, every hour! They are caught as by-catch and fished for their fins, and some population of shark species have been hunted down by approximately 90%. Sharks are Apex predators; they control the population of smaller fish which leads to healthier coral reefs.
What you can do – Support organisations like Shark Guardian. Do not support restaurants that serve shark fin soup, and avoid purchasing shark products like tooth necklaces. Boycott airlines and shipping companies that transport shark fins or shark-related products.
#therearenowallsintheocean – Documentaries like Blackfish and The Cove highlight the inhumane practice of holding marine mammals like orcas and dolphins in captivity. What lives in the ocean stays in the ocean, and that goes for everything from big marine mammals to small shells and corals. Even after being broken into pieces and washed up on shore, shells and corals still contain minerals that the ocean needs. Leaving these broken pieces on the beach allows them to be washed back into the ocean by the surf.
What you can do – Do not support marine mammal shows and avoid the temptation to collect shells or pieces of coral. Avoid purchasing jewellery or souvenirs made of shell or coral.
#eatsustainably – We are becoming increasingly aware of mass over fishing and how it is destroying natural ecosystems. We are pushing entire species to extinction and then moving on to the next. This affects the entire web of life and overall ocean health, which in turn affects our climate and entire ecosystem.
What you can do – Keep your fish intake to a minimum, and if you must eat fish, avoid endangered species. Check out this handy guide for information on how to eat fish as sustainably as possible.
Two more things you can do – Share this blog with your family and dive buddies so they can join the eco-friendly dive movement too! And, if you have only just joined us, be sure to check out 5 ways to Practice Ethical Diving in Thailand at Sea.