Florida divers have removed 1,500 pounds of trash from the ocean as part of a bid to win the Guinness World Record of the largest number of people gathered in one place for underwater cleaning at the same time.
A group of 633 divers broke the Guinness World Record of the largest number of people gathered in one place for underwater cleaning at the same time, near a fishing pier in Deerfield Beach, in Fort Lauderdale, South Florida.
Michael Empric, judge of the Guinness World Record, announced the new record at the cleanup site, according to a video released Sunday by Dixie Divers, the organizer of the event.
According to Empric, the record so far held by the Egyptian diver Ahmed Gabr, who had managed in 2015 to gather 614 divers for a cleanup in the Red Sea, in Hurghada (Egypt).
The new record is now in Florida after the cleanup carried out this Saturday by Dixie Divers with the support of the marine conservation group Project AWARE and the PADI diving agency, among other organizations.
“It was a success,” Jack Fishman, one of the participating divers, said on his Facebook account. He also stressed out that they collected more than 9,000 pieces of marine debris “to make Deerfield Beach a better place for all who live there, above and below the waves.”
Marine litter is a type of anthropogenic pollution that transcends and threatens marine ecosystems, on which depend the livelihood of 3 billion people. 80% of that pollution is plastic, which takes about 400 years to disappear and adds about 150 million tons of waste to sea, according to estimates by the European Commission.
These remains, which often come from bags and plastic bottles discharged into the ocean, pose a danger because the most bulky elements strangle the marine fauna, while the so-called microparticles (less than 5 mm) are ingested by animals and pass to be part of the food chain.