News | 27 July 2021

Bubble busters get down and dirty

In the month of Plastic Free July, Bubble Busters collected from the sea, five glass bottles, four plastic mugs, three ID Cards, two pairs of pants, and a silicon suction cup too.

Bubble Busters collection of scooters and road cones from their dive

It’s not as festive as it sounds, especially in the middle of winter, but every month the Bubble Busters Adventure Club dives around Wellington Harbour collecting the rubbish that accumulates on the seafloor.

 

Bubble Busters started in 2017 as a group wanting to have some fun diving – and the environment has benefited no end, but unfortunately the work never ends, says volunteer diver Peter Humphris.

“We do other sites around the harbour, but usually target the area near Te Papa as it never stays clean for very long.

“It’s frustrating, and I think we all have a part to play in being conscious about how we dispose of things.  Remember if you drop it on the street it can end up in the sea – so we ask everyone to take care to dispose of their rubbish properly, wherever they are.”

The team carefully remove and return any sea creatures they find amongst the rubbish they collect, and then enter every item they find into a datasheet each month.

Peter says plastic lids, wrappers and cans (over 8000 cans since April 2017) constantly top the list of trash they collect, but there are many unusual items they discover on their underwater expeditions too.

“Some of the weirder things we’ve found include a park bench, motor scooters, adult toys, bongs, handbags and wallets, lots of clothing and blankets, tampons, little statues of elephants and Jesus – and sadly lots of scooters lately.”

They usually get between 2-4 divers at clean-ups, and are currently looking for volunteers.

“In recent times people’s lives have gotten busier and many of the divers and shore helpers can’t attend as often – so we’re keen to hear from anyone who’s able to lend a hand doing a fun and rewarding activity once a month.”

Wellington City Council removes and disposes of the rubbish, and the volunteers get a free lunch from one of the many food trucks at the Harbourside Market.