PADI AWARE, in collaboration with partners The Ocean Conservancy and CSIRO released a second research paper using surveys submitted by divers through the Dive Against Debris citizen science program.

The scientific paper is the second collaboration (read about the first study here) using information collected in real-time from beach clean-ups and Dive Against Debris seabed surveys to identify marine debris hotspots and to try and understand causes. This research is the first of its kind, using long-term global datasets from over 115 different countries.

The research identifies global hotspots of marine debris, with the new paper uncovering the links between socio-economic factors and marine debris. Hotspots were linked to increased urban development while also linked to areas of decreased national wealth.

This research highlights the issue that marine debris is a cross-border issue, and is not necessarily attributable to one particular country, region or river source.

The finding illustrates that the marine debris issue is much more complex than many researchers initially thought, requiring a global response to tackle the problem. The data also illustrates that there is a large degree of diversity of marine debris trends varying between country, region and area of relative wealth.

These findings have opened up a new approach to thinking about marine debris, and this has only been possible through the massive amounts of data collected by citizen scientists and the recreational diving community.

It is now apparent that divers are the only group who have the ability to directly monitor the impacts waste management policies and initiatives have on ocean habitats. As a diver, you contribute to groundbreaking research as a citizen scientist when you make #EveryDiveaSurveyDive!

Together, we will play a critical role in evaluating the effectiveness of efforts to prevent waste entering the ocean.

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