Three Seychellois divers have started a project to clean up the ocean floor at polluted sites around the main island of Mahe.
In their first dive two weeks ago, the three divers — Mervin Cedras, Marcus Quatre and Dominique Thelermont — did not like what they saw.
“The worst thing was the fact that we saw countless marine species feeding on all this trash and I realised that this was what we were eating too,” said a horrified Cedras.
The trio have over 13 years of diving experience and their observations of the devastation of the local marine ecosystems drove to want to rectify the problem in any way that they could.
According to the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT), which is funding the project, the “reduction of ocean pollution through seafloor clean up, and education of fishermen and youth about the impact of ocean pollution” project at the Providence area started on Saturday July 31st with disheartening results.
The harshness of the divers’ findings brings to light the extent of the disrespectful use of the ocean as a dumping site for all manner of materials.
The mound of trash collected did not even put a dent in the amount left for the divers to clean up and Marcus Quatre said “imagine that this area is so close to an actual marine park and it is in this state.”
The divers received funding of SCR 677,730 from SeyCCAT for the six-month project which will cover sites that have more traffic and are expected to have more trash.
Through this project, they will put their diving skills and experience to good use to clean up three areas around Mahe which are particularly frequented by snorkellers and divers.
Video documentaries of the clean-up exercises will be done throughout to show the public exactly what is happening and how bad the ocean pollution is around the main island of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
The SeyCCAT project will also fund a three-part documentary about the divers’ efforts to clean up the ocean floor around Mahe. It will give details on the type of materials collected and the extent of the pollution so as to create real-time visuals of the situation so as to inspire others to take up the fight against marine pollution.
Once the clean-up exercise is complete, the team will engage in an education campaign through workshops and social media to raise awareness among fishermen, youths and the general public about ocean pollution.
The video will also be used as evidence gathered during the clean-up by the divers who plan to lobby the Seychelles Fishing Authority to make it mandatory for fishing vessels to return with all waste to shore.