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GaspOur Beads Clean up Inspires Thoughts of Change

SCUBAnauts join together to dive, snorkel, paddleboard and kayak in an effort to help clear a small stretch along the Gasparilla parade route of plastic bead necklaces.

Blog by Samantha B.

On May 6, 2018, a small group of SCUBAnauts teamed up with NAUI Green Diver Initiative, Center for Open Exploration and many more groups to clean up the litter in the waters off Davis Island. Our main focus was the bead necklaces thrown into the water from the Gasparilla parade. We separated everyone into groups (divers/ snorkelers, land-based, and kayaks/paddleboards). We had the snorkelers lay out transect lines to collect data on where the beads were found and what was found on them so we can later study why some colored beads had organisms living on them and others didn’t. We had the kayaks and paddle boards to take the beads and other trash found by the divers and snorkelers to the boats. All together we pulled up a total of 298 lbs of beads in addition to many more pounds of trash. We also found a Ganesha statue, a crutch, a lawn chair, many baseballs,  parts of what we believe is a satellite, and a lot of wrappers and bottles. Over all we had a really fun experience, but the plastics pollution was disheartening. SCUBAnauts discussed the need for a new plan for Gasparilla, whether it be a change from our current celebration traditions or the development for a new style of bead. We hope for less bead trash next year.

To learn more about this initiative, please visit http://www.nauigreendiver.org/green-diver-news, and while you’re there, check out our clean up photos!

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