Bi-national scuba cleanup project
(posted to the Ramsar Forum, 14 February 2000)
Subject: A bi-national marine clean up Project - a week after the WWD 2000
From: Reuven Ortal firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Thursday, February 10, 2000, more than 80 scuba divers from Israel and Jordan joined together along the entire North Beach area of Eilat, in a major underwater clean up campaign. In the most ambitious effort to date, the divers spent the morning cleaning up all the trash that had accumulated on the sea floor in some of the most popular swimming beaches used by thousands of tourists and Eilat residents.
Thursday's project was the joint effort of the Ministry of the Environment together with Friends of the Earth Middle East (FoEME) who combined forces to initiate the Eilat-Aqaba 2000 Underwater Clean Up Project. It is estimated that up to 4 tons of garbage -- plastic plates and bottles, aluminum cans, nylon bags, glass bottles and other discarded trash, as well as larger objects-- were removed from the water by the divers who all volunteered their morning in support of the campaign. Participating in the effort were instructors and staff from diving clubs on both sides of the border, as well as from the Nature and Parks Authority, the Eilat Field School, the Interuniversity Institute, Kibbutz Nirim, the youth diving club from Ma'ale Shaharut Regional High School, local hotels and many other companies, groups and individuals interested in volunteering their time to protect the environment.
Lucky Divers hosted the divers from Aqaba, providing equipment and a home base while they were in Eilat. At the conclusion of the clean up campaign, the 10 divers from Aqaba visited the Underwater Observatory and spent several hours touring Eilat.
The goals of this important project are:
1. Cleaning the sea bottom in an area of very high tourist use.
2. Educating the public and making them more aware of the fragile marine environment in the Gulf of Aqaba and how they can help protect it.
3. Enhancing cooperation between Eilat and Aqaba -- neighbors who are jointly concerned about the well-being of the Gulf.
At the conclusion of the dive, the participants gathered at the Eilat Sailing Club for lunch which was generously provided by several of Eilat's hotels that showed their concern for the environment by their support of this important activity. A veritable feast was donated by the Ambassador Hotel along with generous contributions by the Dan Hotel, the Meridian Hotel, the Mecure-Mirage and the Royal Beach Hotel as well as Coca-Cola of Eilat. For more information or photos on the event please contact Dori Meshi at email@example.com
----------- Friends of the Earth Middle East E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.foeme.org
Congratulations! The endeavor shows that wetlands know no manmade boundaries and more than anything else cooperation among countries is the way to take care of them. Here is hoping other countries will follow suit..
Carlo C. Custodio, Philippines, email@example.com
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