A gathering of 633 scuba divers broke the Guinness World Record for the biggest underwater clean-up last week off of Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier in south Florida. While those participating were motivated to break the world record, which was previously held by Ahmed Gabr, a former Egyptian Army scuba diver, with a team of 614 divers in the Red Sea in Egypt in 2015, the primary goal was to remove trash from the ocean.
“It doesn’t matter what happens today with the Guinness World Records,” said Guinness adjudicator Michael Empric, who came from New York City to moderate the feat. “What really matters is that everyone is out there cleaning up around the pier and trying to improve the community.”
Empric said he tallied all the divers from 9-11 AM and that divers were required stay in the water at least 15 minutes in order to be counted for the record. “I actually stood there and clicked off everyone as they got in the water,” he said.
Thirteen-year-old Dahlia Bolin came all the way from Mackinaw, Illinois to participate in the event and clean he ocean. Commenting that she found some debris including a metal sign, she said: “It was at the end of the pier about 20 feet down, just kind of buried in the sand,” she said. “There’s a lot of heavy weights for fishing line down there, but there’s some really beautiful fish, mostly.”
While there was not an official report of how much trash the 633 divers collected, divers reported single-use plastics and lead fishing weights were prominent. According to the Sun Sentential, diver and environmentalist RJ Harper, said that the divers found 1,600 pounds of lead fishing weights. “All those times the line gets caught, you just never really think about it,” Harper said. “Obviously, trash was collected, but the beauty of it is with 633 divers, we were able to do a very thorough cleaning.” Harper hopes the united effort will bring awareness to others and maybe even inspire more people to organize similar events.
Sources: Sun Sentinel