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Scuba divers participate in major clean-up effort in Bonaire

On Saturday, September 18, 2010, seventy Bonaire visitors and residents joined together to create the most successful underwater cleanup to date, even though they encountered choppy seas.  The site to clean?  Karel’s Beach Bar, a popular drinking establishment sitting right in Kralendijk Bay.   This cleanup marked the completion of twelve years of regular reef cleanups on Bonaire.

Dive Friends Bonaire and NetTech N.V. were the event sponsors, but many others assisted to make the event  a success.  Jake Richter of NetTech initiated the briefing, giving an explanation of how to recover the trash, as well as what should be recovered and what should be left behind.  Of paramount importance was that all participants refrain from harming any marine organisms.  Asko Zuidam of Dive Friends Bonaire then explained the logistics–how  and where to enter, how to bring back the trash, and how to exit the water.

Ramon de Leon, manager of the Bonaire National Marine Park, and his ranger, Joi Faith Jenkins, were on hand at two exit areas ensuring that any animals that might have been inadvertently brought up were quickly returned to the water.  Others tallied and sorted the trash, and then disposed of it in two large bins which Bonaire’s waste management company, Selibon, had donated for the day. 

Although a surprisingly diverse array of trash was collected  in this short time by the 70 volunteers, the statistic that was most astounding was that 1597 glass beverage bottles were collected.  Additionally, the following was removed from Bonaire’s reefs:  2 paper bags, 8 plastic bags, 55 small plastic beverage bottles, 102 beverage cans, 1 lid, 30 pieces of clothing or shoes, 179 pieces of cutlery, 17 pieces of food wrap or containers, 2 straws, 1 piece of packaging, 20 pieces of fishing line, 6 pieces of plastic sheeting. 13 pieces of rope, 2 ashtrays, 5 pieces of major appliances, 1 battery, 130 pieces of building materials, 1 auto part, 8 tires, 2 candles, 14 gifts, 10 fireworks, 13 spareribs, and 1 chair.

Upon surfacing, participants were greeting with a refreshing beverage, compliments of the Cappucchino Bar and Karel’s Beach Bar.

After the dive, all participants and their families and friends were welcomed back for a Pot Luck BBQ, with food and beverages hosted by Dive Friends Bonaire and NetTech, and where quite a party ensued.  After enjoying a great dinner, all participants were eligible for a variety of raffle prizes, consisting of t-shirts and caps, dive accessories, rash guards, a Gold-level Bonaire WebCams membership, and dinner for two at Zeezicht, one of Bonaire’s long-standing fine restaurants. Volunteers were also rewarded with certificates of participation.

Images from this cleanup are available online at the Bonaire Insider Photo Gallery at http://www.bonaireinsider.com/index.php/gallery_bonaire/category/C81/.  Live video of the event can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paFpepf9hLY&feature=channel.

Thanks go to the day sponsors Selibon, Karel’s Beach Bar, the Cappucchino Bar, Zeezicht Restaurant, Deep Blue Gear, Reef, Ouray, Dive Shades, Bonaire WebCams, and STINAPA. 

The next quarterly underwater cleanup is scheduled for Sunday, January 16, 2011.  Registration opens at 9:30 AM (location to be determined), and the briefing will begin at 10:00 AM.  The planned location will be the Customs Pier, also known as the South Pier, providing permission can be granted by the Harbourmaster’s Office.  Those interested in participating should make a reservation by e-mailing cleanups@dive-friends-bonaire.com.   Additional information about the cleanups is available at: http://www.dive-friends-bonaire.com/clean_up_dives.html.  All are welcome to join in.

Dive Friends Bonaire is one of Bonaire’s premier diving facilities with convenient locations in Kralendijk, at Hamlet Bonaire, Dive Inn, and at Port Bonaire and has two retail stores in Kralendijk.  For additional information, visit http://www.dive-friends-bonaire.com.

 

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