Volunteer divers clean up hidden trash to help end strain on sea life

Volunteer divers clean up hidden trash to help end strain on sea life

A shopping trolley, a vape and beer bottles.

Key points:

  • Volunteers looked in areas not frequented by divers and swimmers
  • One of the divers says the debris can be fatal for sea life
  • Divers found pottery, a vape and a large pole among other things

These items weren’t found at the local supermarket. They were discovered by a group of avid divers in the water at the longest timber jetty in the Southern Hemisphere.

On Sunday, 31 divers from Perth, the South West and overseas came together for a massive underwater clean-up of the 1.8-kilometre structure in Busselton.

In less than two hours, they pulled out more than 100 kilograms of rubbish and debris.

Rusted wires and other debris on a blue tarp with people in wet suit crouching.

Divers took less than two hours to find the rubbish and debris underwater.(ABC News: Dinushi Dias)

Event coordinator Jacquie Bullard said this was the biggest clean-up she and the crew at non-profit Busselton Jetty Incorporated had ever organised, and it was done in collaboration with Clean Up Australia.

Ms Bullard said they wanted to figure out what exactly was under the iconic structure, especially in areas not frequented by divers or swimmers.

“The end of the jetty is heavily dived. It’s the sanctuary zone, and a lot of the divers will pick up rubbish,” she said.

“The middle section, not a lot of people will dive for a couple of reasons — it’s not that deep … and fishing.”

Event collaborator Tania Douthwaite said it was interesting to see the different types of rubbish divers found in these areas.

Woman smiles at camera in crowded, sunny park

Perth-based free dive instructor Tania Douthwaite says it would be great to see more done to preserve marine environments.(ABC News: Dinushi Dias)

The Perth-based free diving instructor said she would like to see more events like this happen in years to come.

“This could grow,” she said.

The rubbish discovered will be entered into the Tangaroa Blue Marine Debris Database.

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Volunteer divers find more than 100 kilograms of rubbish at iconic jetty

Divers come to lend a hand

A number of Perth-based divers from Taiwan to China drove down to Busselton to help clean up the jetty.

Chinese national Olivier Xu Rin used to be a free dive instructor in the Philippines.

While he was shocked to find such a low amount of plastic waste under the jetty, he said more could be done.

“I really hope the people here also try to stop using plastic bottles and plastic bags,” he said.

Man smiles with his thumbs at park in front of collection of rubbish found by him and fellow divers

Busselton visitor and free diver Olivier Xu Rin says he hopes people stop using plastic.(ABC News: Dinushi Dias)

Perth-based teacher Aneta Ward frequently visited the Busselton Jetty.

She said it was one of her favourite ecosystems in the world to explore as a diver.

“It is abundant in sea life,” Ms Ward said.

“It’s nice to come along and give back and help the many volunteers who work to keep it clean.”

One man in a wet suit and three woman sit in a boat and smile at the camera.

Jared Hunter (left), Angie Ayers, Aneta Ward (back row left) and Lynette Wiltshire are among the volunteer divers.(ABC News: Dinushi Dias)

Ms Ward said she often spotted fish and stingrays caught on hooks and fishing lines when she dived in the area.

‘Over time, that fishing line gathers up debris and seaweed, and it puts a lot of strain on the animals … and eventually they do pass away.

“We really need to look after it. I cannot stress enough how important this treasure is here for the South West.”

Don’t leave rubbish behind

Perth-based resident Rong Zhong has visited the Busselton Jetty a number of times, but she usually does so to fish.

On Sunday, she decided to dive in for the first time and find out what was there.

Ms Zhong said the underwater area had been well-maintained by volunteers but seeing rubbish like beer bottles and fishing line showed how careful people had to be.

Young woman wearing cap smiles brightly in front of Busselton Jetty, clear blue skies and ocean.

Diver Rong Zhong says the ocean can’t deal with the trash.(ABC News: Dinushi Dias)

Ms Zhong said she had a close call recently when she almost lost a crab net but luckily managed to hold onto it when it got caught on one of her hooks.

For extra safety, she now double checks everything is tied up properly before dropping the net.

“Otherwise, I can’t get rid of the guilt,” she said.

“We’re so lucky in Western Australia. The underwater environment is so good.”

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