Underwater litter pick by scuba divers

SCUBA divers from Bermondsey have been taking part in a nationwide underwater litter pick.

Around 20 members of the Bermondsey Sub Aqua Club, a branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC), spent several hours on Sunday (September 2) removing shopping trolleys, motorbike frames and tin cans from Canada Water which is a haven for marine and wildlife.

Their efforts are part of a nationwide campaign by BSAC to remove litter from the waterways and coastline around Britain and record what is found.

Brett Parker, Training Officer for Bermondsey Sub Aqua Club, said: “We wanted to take part in the litter pick because we felt it was something which the whole club could get stuck in to and we had a great turnout from our members on Sunday.

“We had terrific interest from people just passing by who were all hanging over the sides, asking us what we were doing and they seemed genuinely interested and enthusiastic about what we were doing.

“The volume of urban rubbish we found did shock us and shocked the people watching too.

“We found shopping trolleys, an old bike, a motorbike frame, a watering can, one of those hose reels you use to keep your hose tidy and it does make you wonder why people just dump these in the water. We filled two huge plastic bags full of food and drink cans too.”

BSAC’s Underwater Litterpick runs until October 31 and hundreds of diving clubs up and down the UK have registered to take part. For each litter pick, divers are completing a data form to help record the volume and type of litter they have found plaguing the area where they dive.

These forms are then submitted to BSAC headquarters in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, where the information will be collated and shared with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) which is staging its own Beachwatch campaign where volunteers come together to clean up Britain’s beaches.

Mary Tetley, BSAC chief executive, said: “The BSAC Underwater Litterpick gives our divers the chance to contribute to the fight against marine pollution by retrieving and then recording the underwater litter that they find.

“Not only is it helping to clean up the dive sites which we all enjoy but it is also contributing to wider research and understanding of the pollution issues our precious seas and waterways face.”

Litter in our seas and beaches has a devastating impact on marine life with plastic being one of the worst offenders.

One Leatherback turtle found in Galloway had one white plastic bag, one black plastic binliner, three transparent plastic bags, one green plastic bag and one transparent plastic bag for chicken meat packaged by a US company in its stomach.

Brett added: ““We thought why not help clear something which is close to home. Canada Water is a haven for wildlife and the local fisherman were delighted to hear about what we were doing because it is home to a lot of fish too.

“We found a huge crayfish while we were down there, I couldn’t believe the size of it so Canada Water is home to a lot of marine life and dumping rubbish in there is not good for them.”

To find out more about BCAC’s Underwater Litterpick go to www.bsac.com/litterpick  and for more information on the Marine Conservation Society’s Beachwatch Big Weekend go to www.mscuk.org/beachwatch

To contact Bermondsey Sub-Aqua Club, call 07518 398845 or email info@bermondsey-bsac.org.uk

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