One more day until the Big Five Dive! 5 Great Lakes, 24 hours.
Part of this is for PADI Women’s Dive Day, part to raise awareness for the ecological impact on the lakes, and part because this is an amazing mission. Yesterday we talked PADI Women’s Dive Day, so now let’s talk about the Great Lakes, ’cause they don’t call ’em great for nothing.
The Great Lakes have over 20% of the world’s freshwater.
I have to tell you, after my other diving experiences, diving here seems like a weird kind of miracle to not be spitting out salt when I surface.
But like all good things, a person has to take care of and properly maintain the Great Lakes so they don’t get ruined.
So what is ruining the Great Lakes?
- Invasive species like zebra mussels.
Yeah, you heard me. Litter. Plastics, specifically.
Throw a plastic water bottle overboard while boating? Litter.
But it isn’t just that a lake bed might have water bottles on the bottom of it. The plastic itself degrades and pollutes.
There are two ways these things can break down, and plastic photo-decays, breaking into smaller and smaller pieces. Those pieces get gobbled up by fish, and then a person maybe goes out fishing, catches that fish, and bam. Now the person is eating the plastic from the water bottle discarded. Kind of gross.
Programs like Adopt-a-Beach help organize volunteers for litter clean up on the beaches. In fact, they have a cool feature where the data of how much litter was collected and shows percentages of what kind of litter.
We interviewed Meaghan Gass yesterday, who works for NEMIGLSI (Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative), and is passionate about both the environment and death metal unicorns.
One of her main goals is to reduce the use of plastics, specifically single-use plastic, from a bottle of water used only once, to the plastic that surrounds a frozen pizza.
I know I could do better to reduce my plastic use, because I don’t even think about things like a plastic wrapper on a frozen pizza. But if we all try to up our game one step, think about how many steps that is worldwide.
When we finished up our Night Dive certification at Lake Avalon, as we would get out of the water, I would have a fistful of trash from the bottom–plastic water bottle, spent bottle rocket, unidentifiable white plastic clump.
No, I didn’t log it onto the Adopt-A-Beach website, but I still feel like getting it out of the lake was helpful. Maybe it was only one handful at a time, but it is still some small step towards getting better.
Isn’t that what we can do? A little step, when we can? We can do our best, rather than assuming that since everyone else is condemning the planet, there’s nothing we can do to combat that.
So don’t litter. Pick up trash when you see it. There’s no reason to not be nice.