One of the most obvious global problems in our seas is the amount of litter and marine debris. Marine debris is not only unsightly, but kills countless sea creatures and birds each year. In fact, most of the sea turtles found dead in our region have been found to have ingested some sort of rope, plastic, or other synthetic products. It is for these reasons that we not only clean-up all rubbish we encounter while diving, but also dedicate time each week to clean-up dives.
Having so many divers, Koh Tao is actually one of the cleanest reefs in Thailand, even so sometimes we are able to get tons of rubbish in a single day. Last year we even worked to do a clean-up everyday for a month, in recognition of the Project AWARE Debris month of Action.
Clean-up dives are a great way to spend the day doing something which has immediate benefits to the ecosystem. It is something that everybody can take part in, and requires no specialized training. Clean-ups are also one of the best ways to start getting children or young divers involved in conservation activities that will nurture positive environmental ethics that last a lifetime.
Not only do we conduct our own clean-ups each week (and clean when we see rubbish each day), but we also help to host monthly clean-ups with the Koh Tao community through the Save Koh Tao Marine Branch. These monthly clean-ups occur on the last Saturday of every month, and generally have about 7-8 local dive schools in attendance, with up to 150 divers participating. The Monthly Save Koh Tao Clean-up dives are free to all New Heaven Dive School Customers, we welcome you to join us.
Cleaning the reefs has many benefits, but it would be much better if this waste never ended up in the sea in the first place. That is why we have also banned plastic bags and foam boxes from our dive school. And are working together with Project AWARE and other Koh Tao dive schools on a Waste Management Master Plan.