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Divers go deep to clean up Pilot Bay waters

Thursday, 7 August 2014 1:00 p.m.

Volunteer divers are taking on wintery water in Pilot Bay later this month to clean up the mess that others left behind.

About 20 divers and supporters are involved in the Project Aware event to remove rubbish that accumulates underwater in the harbour – everything from car tyres and plastic bottles to beer cans, fishing rods and anything else that falls off, or is thrown from boats. They are supported by sponsors, including Bay of Plenty Regional Council, New World, Tauranga City Council and Envirowaste.

The Project AWARE Foundation is a collective of scuba divers devoted to protecting the oceans ‘one dive at a time’. The group has been operating for about 20 years, supporting divers acting in their own communities to protect oceans, removing trash from the seabed and protecting marine species.

Tauranga organiser, Dive Zone Tauranga student Chloe Erlston, said many people had stepped up to assist with the dive and support work on the day. Bay of Plenty Regional Council is paying for disposal of the rubbish collected, Tauranga City Council and Envirowaste are providing the waste bin and New World is providing food for the divers. Project Aware is providing dive tanks.

“Volunteers don’t need to be trained divers and snorkelers can also take part in the cleanup. We also welcome free divers,” she said. Many of the volunteers are Bay of Plenty Polytechnic environmental studies students.

Harbour Master Peter Buell said the Regional Council was supporting the work as part of its efforts to care for Tauranga Harbour.

“We all want clean water, wonderful wildlife and plentiful kaimoana in Tauranga Harbour, so it’s great to see local divers doing their bit to help to care for the harbour.”

The harbour cleanup will be done on Saturday, 23 August.

Tuaranga Harbour Boats