The Power of Giving, Partnerships and Movement Led Conservation Actions for a Clean and Healthy Ocean

By Katie Thompson, PADI Global Director, Corporate Social Responsibility

More than 250 million tons of plastic are estimated to make its way into our ocean by 2025 prompting all of us to ask, how can we tackle this enormous global threat to both human and ocean health in a way that matters?

For almost three decades, divers have been partners in the fight against marine debris, but since 2011, they have taken their actions for a debris free ocean to the next level by recording and reporting to Project AWARE® marine debris found on the sea floor.  Divers are adding the unique underwater perspective to this global crisis through the AWARE Dive Against Debris® citizen science program and collecting evidence to inform measures that can stop the problem at source.

How does the Dive Against Debris® program help create long-term change?

Project AWARE works to reduce underwater impacts of marine debris and prevent trash from entering the ocean in the first place.

Project AWARE recognizes the power of the diving community to influence change and document what remains for the larger public out of sight, out of mind. That’s why the flagship citizen science program, Dive Against Debris® was developed – the first and only marine debris survey of its kind focused on scuba divers reporting types and quantities of debris found on the ocean floor. The data reported by Dive Against Debris volunteers, and shared online and offline through AWARE strategic partnerships, helps bridge the gap in knowledge and build convincing arguments to lead to long-term solutions at the policy level.

Can one diver make a difference in the fight against marine debris?

Yes, absolutely. The Dive Against Debris surveys submitted by divers around the world, online or via the dedicated App, into Project AWARE’s global dataset have a cumulative impact. Every survey counts. Some of the major successes of the Dive Against Debris program includes:  

  • Providing quantitative data, and an accurate perspective about underwater marine debris, that policy-makers simply cannot ignore
  • Supporting a global community of debris activists who have reported and aided over 11,289 entangled or dead marine animals
  • Building an army of citizen science divers specialized in seafloor debris monitoring and reporting to address data gaps
  • Empowering 1,607 Dive Against Debris Instructors who educated over 2,449 students on the threats of marine debris and how to take action to fight it

How does my purchase with PADI support Project AWARE?

When PADI divers, like you, donate to Project AWARE – whether it’s through choosing to receive the PADI AWARE limited edition diver certification card, fundraising or adding a donation to your PADI Gear shopping cart, your donation goes toward protecting what you love: the ocean.

The funds are used by Project AWARE to develop programs and campaigns aimed at educating and engaging the global dive community in ocean conservation actions and courses that lead to change. As a non-profit and civil society, Project AWARE has a seat at the global policy table and works to represent the global voice of the dive community and industry to secure conservation wins that help restore balance between humanity and nature. Donations from individuals and partners, like PADI, are critical to ensuring that the ocean has a voice.

How does Project AWARE and PADI work together to drive conservation outcomes? 

Project AWARE and PADI share a rich partnership that spans over 28 years, building a truly unique alliance for protection of the marine environment. To date, with active support from the PADI Community, Project AWARE has driven over 218,000 conservation actions in over 182 countries creating real and measurable impact for the ocean. Major achievements include leading on securing international protection for the most vulnerable shark and ray species and the development of the largest database of seafloor debris in the world.

PADI recognizes that every dive is an opportunity to collect vital data that can be used to create future protection measures for the ocean. We are committed to our ongoing relationship with Project AWARE – our primary partner in marine conservation. With your support, together we will continue to develop new conservation programs and augment existing courses to ensure that we are creating opportunities in which divers can take action. By offering effective pathways to citizen science through activities that preserve underwater habitats and biodiversity vital to human and planetary health, we can help the local communities where we dive. 

Together, we are committed to speaking up for the ocean and taking local action for global impact.

Every action, every dive, every donation counts.

Header photo credit: Florian Allgaeuer 
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