Responsible Tourism: How to become an Eco Diver

Many people come to Koh Tao to learn how to dive, to see the nature’s wonderful creation under the waves. Our island, also known as the Blue Diamond of the Gulf of Thailand has about 150 different kinds of marine species, these creatures delight thousands of visitors every year. However we live in changing times, over population, climate change and other factors have all lead to an increased pressure on the natural environment. For example the status of Coral Reefs of the World : 2004 report estimates that 20 % of the world’s coral reefs have been effectively destroyed and show no immediate prospect of  recovery, that 24% of the worlds reefs are under imminent risk of collapse through human pressures, and that a further 26% are under a longer threat of collapse.

So the question is what can we do? How can we help to reverse these figures?

Of course it is the Governments and policy makers, who can pass laws, educate and direct the masses, however I feel that the most important change must come from the individual. On an individual level you can start making a difference right now, even when you are on holiday!! Responsible tourism means being aware of the waste and pollution you create and trying to bring it to a sustainable level. How about walking or renting a bicycle instead of taking a taxi? How about switching off your air-conditioning when your not in your room, or using cloth bags instead of plastic bags for shopping ? All these choices are made on an individual level.

The same applies when we dive. Every diver should consider and make positive choices in respect to the marine environment. Here are a few such choices which can help you become an eco diver.

Try to remove any rubbish found underwater (especially batteries and plastics)

Respect all creatures under the sea; don’t remove any natural objects out of the water.

Don’t touch the corals, learn good buoyancy control, and take care with your fins, hands, octopus and gauges.

Don’t poison the fish by feeding harmful fruit skins.

Make sure all your waste you take onto the dive boat leaves with you ( e.g. Cigarette butts) .if it is left on the boat it will most likely end up in the sea.

Choose to dive with operators who care and respect the marine environment.

Please help us protect Koh Tao.

Article written by Devrim Gunsel Zahir - New Heaven Diving School since 1995.