Project AWARE has launched a Dive Against Debris app, allowing divers to catalogue what they see underwater and spread the word about marine trash.

The Project AWARE Dive Against Debris app launched this summer, making these dives much easier for participating divers. The app allows users to upload data to the Dive Against Debris Map more easily, not only helping to clean dive sites but also quickly spreading information on how crucial it is to stop marine pollution.

What is Dive Against Debris?

Project AWARE is a marine-conservation foundation focusing on some of the largest problems in our oceans, including marine debris. The Dive Against Debris project attempts to not only highlight the amount of pollution in the oceans, but also offers divers something to do about it. Divers can make any dive a “Dive Against Debris,” picking up any trash they might find on a dive site and recording it. The Dive Against Debris map is an excellent database and open to the public. Here you can both input your data and see data collected by other divers. This makes for a frightening visual illustration of the pollution on our dive sites. Unfortunately, as divers, we can only cover a limited area within our waters. But we can still make an impact and help show the rest of the world the garbage we see underwater.

How does the app work?

The app is free for iOS and Android users, making it easily accessible to the diving community. The most important features to record are location (latitude/longitude), date, weather conditions, depths, bottom time, type of ecosystem, number of divers and, of course, what you found. Make sure to put the debris in the correct subcategory as well as a weight estimate to make data as accurate as possible. Photos always help to improve the data if you’ve got access to an underwater camera. These can precisely show the location of the debris or if any animals were harmed by pollution. It’s vita to share these visual references with non-divers to highlight the severity of this issue.

If I do not find any trash during the dive, should I still report it?

Yes. Remember, “No Trash” is still data. This information is still important because it helps researchers determine the direction the debris may be traveling as well as where it’s coming from.

I like to dive in rustic locations. How can I input data without Wi-Fi?

The new app has a “draft” section so you can upload any information from a dive. Once in an area with internet, you can upload the data. Once you’ve uploaded the data, it will go through a “pending” phase. You’ll find it in the “approved” section once it is inputted into the Dive Against Debris Map.

What is the result of the data collection?

Project AWARE is currently working with other organizations, such as Global Ghost Gear Initiative and Trash Free Seas Alliance, to help stop marine debris at the source. The Dive Against Debris Map allows these different organizations to see the data that divers upload, the locations with the most of debris, and graphs of which type of debris divers collect most frequently. With our help, this data helps these organizations push for regulations to create healthier oceans, and to reduce the amount of trash dumped into our oceans in the first place.

By guest author Elizabeth Maynor

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