An effort to fight marine debris continues in Bangladesh with Dive Against Debris survey and cleanup. Organized by Save Our Sea, National Underwater Cleanup 2016 ended recently in Saint Martin’s Island. Mangroves for the Future (MFF) Bangladesh and IUCN Bangladesh provides in-kind support to SOS’s Fighting Marine Debris program since 2013.
First phase of NUC16 started in St. Martin’s Island; Bangladesh’s only island with extensive coral colonies in it’s adjacent marine area on 25th February with focus on volunteer engagement in fighting for a trash free bay of Bengal. From 25th to 27th February volunteers got themselves acquainted with the issues on vessel and land based marine pollution, particularly they were facilitated to comprehend the threats of non-biodegradable marine litter with hands on activities like snorkeling and diving. Registered volunteers from conservation, development community and universities helped the divers in Dive Against Debris survey and underwater cleanup.
A sneak peek into latest data
The survey data from this latest cleanup shows;
Total Object = 1048. Plastic 90.31%, Non-plastic 9.69%.
Among non-plastic; glass 0.09%, metal 0.39%, rubber 0.28%, cloth 0.94%, wood 5.32%, paper 1.82%, mixed material 0.85%.
Total scenario; plastic grocery/retail bags (107) 10.20%, plastic beverage bottles (77) 7.35%, plastic caps & lids (34) 3.25%, cigarette filters (104) 9.93%, cigarette lighters (2) 0.19%, food container (144) 13.75%, plastic cups (40) 3.81%, diapers (1) 0.09%, fishing: nets & pieces of nets (12) 1.15%, foam insulation & packaging (5) 0.48%, food wrappers (209) 19.95%, sheeting (3) 0.28%, straws (113) 10.78%, tobacco packaging (8) 0.76%, plastic fragments (88) 8.40%, pen (1) 0.09%, glass vial (1) 0.09%, cans (4) 0.39%, rubber fragments (3) 0.28%, cloth fragments (7) 0.66%, rope & string (3) 0.28%, cardboard (1) 0.09%, cardboard fragment (20) 1.90%, fishing: traps & pots (36) 3.43%, paper/book/newspaper (16) 1.82%, shoes/flip flops/sandals (9) 0.85%.
The first phase of this year’s cleanup will continue until the rough season in the bay of Bengal starts in late March. Second phase of National Underwater Cleanup 2016 will start from late November. In a bid to collect data on marine debris the divers will brought up them from the depth of the Sea.
SOS’s Fighting Marine Debris program is designed for providing critical data on the source of origin, scenario, comparative density and threats from a diverse range of non-biodegradable marine litter into the bay of Bengal. This citizen science program has the potential of engaging local islander and tourist with the cause of marine conservation. The program runs survey and cleanup in accordance with Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris methods. Recent data from the DAD survey shows that about 67.80 percent of marine litter originated from local sources like tourist facilities and vessels. Most of the litter are mainly single-use plastic, from water-bottle to packaging of consumer products. Discarded fishing nets, hooks, gears and other materials used in fishing constitute rest portion of the marine debris in St. Martin’s Island.