When you begin diving one of the most important aspects is an understanding of the environment and respect for it. With just a bit of knowledge of respecting the environment, divers can leave a positive impact.
Each year scuba diving is becoming more and more popular all around the world. Due to lack of environmental education, many divers have a negative impact on the natural underwater environment.
There are, however, many things which can reduce the problems caused when diving.
If you touch the physical environment you will upset the ecosystem which can cause long-term damage. As a new diver it is important that you maintain buoyancy control so that you can avoid crashing into coral and marine life.
Standing on coral or reefs might seem safe when you are adjusting or orienting yourself but it should be avoided at all times because of the damage it causes. A life jacket or proper buoyant BCD can help you avoid this.
Be cautious of fin kick as it can do a lot of damage to marine life. If you hit the corals with your fins stop fining and look at your fins. It might help taking a stroke with your hands to get away.
Many divers are now using gloves as a means of protecting their hands.
However, with this, divers are also encouraged to touch the reef. This should still be avoided even with gloves as the physical impact can lead to ecological damage.
Many tourists also find it interesting to collect souvenirs from their trip such as marine life. Even taking dead marine life is often illegal and should be avoided because it can leave grave ecological problems.
Anchors also leave massive damage among reefs. You can encourage your dive operator to use mooring buoys instead. By avoiding contact with marine species you can prevent pain or injury from toxic or poisonous wildlife and you can prevent damage to the eco systems.
Interactions and Etiquette
The manner in which you dive can have the same impact on the marine species as deliberate or accidental touching.
Chasing marine species such as dolphins, whale sharks, jelly fish, and turtles can cause a great deal of stress and lead to the transmission of diseases or death. Feeding the fish might seem like a fun way to lure them toward you but it also interrupts their natural nutrient balance which then disrupts healthy marine habitats.
Littering should be avoided at all times, especially plastic items. These are often consumed by marine life and are lethal.
Underwater photography seems like a fun idea but be cautious of the proximity to the species if you are using a flash underwater. This can often cause blindness or chase the marine life away from their nesting spots.
Before you dive, be sure to research the type of environment. Fresh water is a rare resource so you should make sure to clean your kit when diving and keep cleaning products, shampoo, and soap from your boat so that they do not harm the environment.
Lastly, always be sure to clean up any trash, plastic bottles, or bags and throw them away in their proper containers once back on land.
What do you do for the Environment? Help other divers become better “environmental” divers. Tell us your story! Leave a comment!