Divers remove nearly 50 tonnes of debris from coral reefs

Divers remove nearly 50 tonnes of debris from coral reefs

Nearly 50 tons of waste has been removed from the marine ecosystem in Hawaii. The last waste was collected last week when freedivers from the nonprofit PapahÄ naumokuÄ kea Marine Debris Project completed their month-long mission. Among the debris brought ashore were 43 tons of “ghost nets” from a single coral reef.

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The Marine Debris Project (PMDP) mission aims to collect debris from remote uninhabited islands off the coast of Hawaii. The 43 tons of ghost nets were recovered from KamokuokamohoaliÊ (translates to “island of the shark god”) or Maro Reef. The island is part of a chain of isolated islands that constitute one of the largest conservation marine ecosystems in the world.

Related: Artificial coral reefs help marine life and biodiversity

The coral reef is located in a very shallow open-ocean lagoon. It is only 10 feet below the surface of the water and over 800 miles from Honolulu. Shallow reefs are essential to the ocean ecosystem as they are home to a number of species including monk seals, sea turtles, sharks, rays and thousands of other species of fish that are not known. found only in Hawaii. Besides the richness of marine species, the reef is also one of the most diverse in Hawaii, thanks to its 37 species of coral.

The benefits of coral reefs go far beyond simply protecting marine life. While few people tend to appreciate their value, coral reefs are essential in protecting islands and the mainland from strong waves and storms. In the wake of climate change and extreme weather events, it is even more important to protect coral reefs.

As the world grapples with excess carbon dioxide, coral reefs are a good storage point for excess carbon. Algae inside reefs can hold huge amounts of carbon dioxide, which they convert into food and energy. However, if the corals die, the carbon is released back into the atmosphere.

Exercise officials say that when plastic and nets cling to corals, they can lead to the death of coral colonies, a situation that not only affects the marine ecosystem, but also affects human life. Nets are even more dangerous as they can strangle even some of the largest marine mammals. In one area, divers found a single net covering more than 20 feet of coral reef.

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Main image via Pexels

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