Diving can have a severe environmental impact if divers are not careful with marine life around them. Underwater worlds are very fragile and it is easy to pollute or destroy corals and other marine life. This is why it is important to be highly environmentally aware as a diver and keep some essential things in mind.
History of Environmental Impact
In the past, many people did not realize that coral reefs are actually living things and no consideration was given to them – or any other marine life for that matter. Anchors were dropped left, right and centre, oil barrels and other garbage was thoughtlessly dumped into the seas and oceans. There was no such thing as Environmental awareness
Before environmental awareness was raised, divers themselves contributed to the destruction of marine life, by touching corals. Some of the damage that can be caused by touching coral is:
- Immediate death of the coral on the area where it was touched
- Infection of the coral from the bacteria present on the diver’s hands
Environmental Awareness and How to Contribute as a Diver
As a diver, it is important to be fully aware of the impact you could potentially make on the marine environment. There are some rules that all divers should stick to, including:
- Never touch any corals
- Never leave any items behind underwater
- Maintain neutral Buoyancy at all times
As a diver, you should contribute to the protection of the environment. The vast majority of divers enjoy the sport because of the beauty around them and want to make a conscious effort towards conserving this. Therefore, even the least experienced divers are encouraged to keep notes in their log books about any possible damage they spot around them, as well as any areas that seem to be once again thriving.
This information can be shared with conservationists to help them identify areas of problems and progress. Fish counting is another way in which divers can contribute to environmental awareness. Divers have a duty to protect the environment in which they dive and should report any unwanted behavior from other divers immediately.
For the more experienced divers and diving instructors, it is important to ensure that they support the less experienced divers in finding areas to descend without touching corals, as well as helping them in case of buoyancy issues therefore buoyancy control is one of the most important skills for a SCUBA diver.
Very little is necessary in order to contribute to environmental awareness. Some good old fashioned common sense goes a long way, of course. Being environmentally aware as a diver is incredibly important, as rumours have started to fly that diving will become extinct due to the damage still caused by many divers the world over.
Blog written by: Rutger Thole who is an avid scuba diver and loves to travel, dive and write about scuba diving. Based in Amsterdam he runs bookyourdive.com and at least twice a year he plans a dive trip of the beaten track.