Abu Dhabi dives deep for another world record
ABU DHABI // Scuba divers plunged the depths of the city’s ports yesterday in an attempt to break the record for the world’s largest underwater clean-up.
Organised by Abu Dhabi Ports Company together with Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company, the clean-up covered Abu Dhabi’s Free Port, the New Free Port, the nearby Fisherman’s Port, Zayed Port and Das Island.
The effort, which took place over the course of 24 hours, started in the early hours of yesterday morning.
The goal, said organisers, was to secure the participation of 250 certified divers by this morning as they claimed this would be a world record.
The clean-up also aimed to raise awareness of the negative impact of underwater debris.
According to information from the National Park Service in the United states, a plastic drinks bottle would need 450 years to decompose in the ocean, while even items as harmless as a paper towel could take up to four weeks.
By midday yesterday, 214 volunteers had already registered.
Among them was Lee Becker, 36, an ice hockey equipment manager from Abu Dhabi.
This was the first underwater clean-up for the Canadian, who first took-up diving 18 months ago.
“There was a lot of big waste where we were,” said Mr Becker, referring to large vehicle tyres and old metal pipes, he had seen underwater.
While he could not haul the bulky items – a job volunteers were instructed to leave for a professional crew – he surfaced with a bag full of plastic debris and disused fishing lines and netting.
Mr Becker thought some of waste must have come from ships visiting the port but believed members of the public were also guilty of littering the ocean, he said.
“You see a fair bit [of waste] and being on boats, you see a bit of carelessness there too, unless it is enforced by the diving centre,” he said.