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NAUI Environmental Award Recognizes the Kuwait Dive Team


by NAUI


NAUI Environmental Award Recognizes the Kuwait Dive Team
 
The 2009 Environmental Enrichment Award has been presented to the Kuwait Dive Team in recognition of their voluntary activities protecting and rehabilitating marine environments. The team has been active since 1986. Although the team receives support from Kuwaiti governmental bodies as well as local and national bodies and individuals, all 130 members of the Kuwait Dive Team are volunteers—none are paid for doing their tasks. The eldest amongst them is 45 years old while the youngest is 12. The team’s objectives are: To engage in activities of protecting and rehabilitating the marine environment, to encourage others to do the same, and to qualify national staff specialized in the marine environmental activities field.
 
Among their many projects have been raising sunken ships and vessels, rescuing marine creatures, pulling derelict fishing nets, placing concrete artificial reefs, and general coastal management. They have:
 
 
  • Pulled 392 ships and boats, totaling almost 70,000 tons, from the bottom and, additionally, removed some 330 tons of oil and fuel pollutants during 82 marine operations;
  • Established 21 artificial reefs of processed concrete with a total weight of 900 tons and a combined area of three-quarters of a hectare (1.8 acres). The reefs contain 6500 holes as hideouts for fish and marine creatures. The project was named “Jaber Al-Kuwait Reefs”;
  • Rescued many marine creatures including three rare turtles from the Chlorine Basin in Al-Shuaiba Industrial Area, shepherded recently hatched sea turtles to safety at Qaroh Island in 1999 and 2003, and undertaken the rescue of three whales from the Swimming Pools Complex of Tourist Enterprises Company;
  • Performed 38 operations of removing 125 tons of fishing nets entangled in coral reefs and lifted 95 tons of harmful residues from the reefs in Kobar, Um Al-Maradem, and Qaroh Islands;
  • Performed 14 coastal environmental clean-ups that have removed many tons of harmful wastes and debris from the Kuwaiti coasts, as well as 1145 tons of asbestos and thousands tons of dead fish; Established and maintained 77 permanent moorings in coral reef locations;
  • Conducted many aerial surveys to register locations of coral reefs and submerged vessels, boats, and ships. Several of the team’s creative members are in the field of TV and photography both over and underwater, and some twenty documentaries have been produced to inform others of the Kuwait Dive Team’s projects and actions and promote responsible marine practices. The documentaries have been aired in numerous agencies and world media channels. Currently, the team organizes outreach programs and activities for children and youth to foster love of environment and participation in public coastal activities.
The team is privileged to enjoy the support and approval of the Emir of Kuwait, HH Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, for the voluntary marine programs and projects, and he has met with them many times. Additionally, they have received recognition from the Awqaf Public Foundation, the United Nations, the Arabic Cities Organization, and other governmental and private institutions.
 
Kuwait Dive Team has maintained a website since 1995. Its current domain name is www.freekuwait.org (and www.freekuwait.com.kw). They continue performing voluntary works tirelessly, and call on others to support these Kuwaiti distinct environmental efforts.
 
The NAUI Environmental Enrichment Award was created by NAUI in 1992 to recognize individuals and organizations for achievements in environmental conservation. The award is for work that has caused an important and recognizable improvement in the aquatic environment, provided significant protection for the aquatic environment, or educates and inspires others to protect and conserve the aquatic environment. The actions affecting the aquatic environment may include any efforts that improve or preserve any part of the global hydrologic cycle. The award can be presented in two categories, one to recognize the efforts of an individual and one to recognize organizational entities.  The award may recognize one event or a lifetime of achievement.


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