The “An ocean of life” project started with a basic but important observation: Every year 20 billion tons of waste are dumped into the oceans. We are all responsible and each one of us can play an individual role in the fight against marine pollution.
AN EASY AND ECO-FRIENDLY MOVE
Millions of people around the world benefit from the sea’s generosity. They are professionals and holidaymakers, young or old, fishermen, sailors, swimmers, scuba divers, tourists… quite simply you, me, anyone and everyone.
Just imagine the tons and tons of debris we could remove from the water and eventually recycle if each one of us gathered, picked up or brought to the surface one piece of trash each time we were at sea, on a river or a lake. And all this effortlessly, without changing our habits or spoiling our fun! This simple gesture for a great cause will soon become automatic. We shall all become eco-volunteers.
We are especially interested in involving responsible adults in this project in order to raise awareness and educate younger generations.
WHY IS IT TIME TO ACT?
A PLANETARY ISSUE
Human activity on land and at sea is the main cause of ocean pollution and more specifically of coastal waters. The concentration of debris in all five oceanic gyres taken together represents a surface equivalent to the size of a country like the Netherlands, and can reach a depth of up to 100 feet (30 meters).
In a recent study report, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) experts concluded that plastic matter and primarily plastic bags and bottles represents more than 80% of all waste in several regional seas. A single plastic grocery bag can travel thousands of miles to reach the ocean and it will take several years before it decomposes into fine particles which represent a real hazard to sea life.
Every piece of trash dropped as litter on land will end up in the ocean one way or another, carried along by rivers or blown by the wind.
A PROJECT FOR EVERYONE
Oceans cover more than 70% of our planet’s surface and provide 80% of the oxygen we breathe and of the food we eat. The future of our planet and the survival of our own kind will depend on the balance and the health of the oceans. If these latter happen to die, we will also. But we can avoid this. We have the will and the capacity to act, every day, all year long. To pick up one and only piece of waste represents already a great deal for ocean’s cause.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Little blue mesh bags will be made available in public or private locations such as sports associations/clubs or shops taking part in the project and easily recognizable by a sticker. Each volunteer will receive a blue mesh-bag which can be inserted in the pocket of a scuba-diving BCD or dry suit, attached to a kayak or stored on a boat.
When back from the water sport activity, each eco-volunteer will be kindly asked to throw the trash they have picked up into the special blue trash bins. These will be installed in dive association’s premises, sailing clubs, water sport centres, harbour master’s offices or simply on a jetty. All waste will eventually be reintegrated into a recycling process.
Each piece of trash picked up will be listed on an Identification and Observation Sheet. This information will then be uploaded onto a database (available on our website) which has been specifically created in order to build up a world map of marine pollution and thus identify the most impacted areas.
All participants will be encouraged to post pictures and films on social networks. Entertaining and motivating challenges can be regularly organized: the most unusual object found in the water, the heaviest piece of waste brought back to the surface, the bravest marine animal rescue…
The aim of this is to raise awareness and involve all participants in a fun way.
WE NEED YOU!
We are currently seeking support from:
- Local public authorities wishing to play an active role in this project by, for instance, providing trash bins or any other logistical support
- Organizations, foundations, sponsors, manufacturers, shops and brands eager to participate in a fun and eco-oriented project by providing blue mesh bags as well as advertising tools. In return they will be awarded the right to brand the mesh-bags and communication decks with their logo.
To date we have been approached by other countries (Honduras, Italy, Morocco and New Zealand) as well as the French Overseas Department Guadeloupe. All wish to participate in this simple and unusual project.
In collaboration with Longitude 181, Earthforce Fight Squad and other engaged and committed associations, we are joining forces to combat ocean pollution. All initiatives to support this cause are more than welcome.
THE PROJECT’S FOUNDER
The «An ocean of life » project was conceived and developed by René Heuzey, an acclaimed cinematographer and film director with renowned expertise in underwater shooting.
René has collaborated in about a hundred natural history and wildlife films for TV and cinema (Thalassa, Ushuaïa Nature), documentaries such as Yann Arthus Bertrand’s “Planet Ocean” and feature films including Jacques Perrin & Jacques Cluzaud’s “Oceans”. His images have fascinated audiences all around the world.
René, working for his own production company “Label Bleu Production”, has travelled the world and dived every ocean. His extensive field experience led him to the same conclusions as other ocean specialists: our rivers, lakes and seas urgently require our attention more than ever before. This persuaded him to act promptly. René consequently launched the “An ocean of life” project.
RENÉ HEUZEY’S OBSERVATIONS
“For over 25 years, I have dived and filmed in almost all the seas and oceans on the planet whilst shooting/directing movies and documentaries for French television and foreign production companies. I have noticed during this lapse of time that several marine habitats have slowly but constantly deteriorated while simultaneously the situation in a few (rare) locations has improved.
Fortunately, many associations and volunteers have started to raise public awareness on these critical issues and are proposing practical actions such as beach clean-up days. We strongly support these initiatives but we recognize at the same time that such operations are actively involving people only once or twice a year.
As far as I am concerned, every time I dive and spot trash like plastic bags or bottles, I pick them up, bring them up to the surface and throw them away in the nearest bin. I also rescue fish or sea fans/corals which are entangled in “ghost” fishing nets/lines. Sea turtles mistake floating plastic and other garbage for food (such as jellyfish) and ingest it. This causes blockages within their digestive system and eventually kills them. In the same way, marine mammals and seabirds’ stomachs are literally full of unhealthy plastic…which is why we need to remove this dangerous waste”