MARINE CONSERVATION SOCIETY
It's getting murky down there
HOW often do people make the casual observation that visibility at UK dive sites has been reducing over the years? If there has been any increase in "turbidity", is it caused by siltation, or plankton growth, or waste from farmland and dredging?
Is it an entirely natural process, or is it being influenced by industrial activity or sewage? Is it really happening at all?
There are many pressing questions that remain to be answered, some connected with radioactive waste, the new wave of insecticides, hormone-altering chemicals and the effects of shellfish dredging.
Who knows what the next big issue to hit the marine environment will be? The only sure thing is that divers will notice it first, and be affected most by the consequences.
Which is why it is vital that divers are on board to gauge just what is going on down below, and to help prevent the questions of today becoming the disasters of tomorrow.
If you have any observations about your favourite dive sites, the Marine Conservation Society would like to hear them.
One man who made a stand against marine pollution was the late Tony Wakefield, a patron of the MCS and whose daughter Caroline died after picking up poliovirus, almost undoubtedly from bathing.
Tony has left his legacy in the Good Beach Guide, compiled by the MCS and an example to all of us of positive action coming out of tragedy - just look at the reactions the Guide provokes publicly and within the water industry each year when it is published.
The message is getting across, but only with your help will divers enjoy cleaner waters for the new millennium. The MCS cannot continue to campaign for an end to the dumping of sewage, oil, litter and radioactive waste without the support of its members - so if you are not one yet, there is no better time to join than today.
Appeared in DIVER - August 1998