SNKG – CHAPTER 1 – TEACHING RESPECT FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

In the late 1990s, the scientific community and environmentalists began to scrutinize the impact of snorkelers and snorkelers on seabeds globally. Snorkelers and snorkelers were often blamed for the destruction of coral reefs and the bottom. However, subsequent research revealed that the primary threats to these ecosystems include coastal environment destruction, fishing effects, sedimentation, and excessive nutrient introduction (eutrophication).

Sedimentation’s main causes are uncontrolled land use, deforestation near rivers, and dredging without silt-reduction techniques. The construction of tourist complexes has led to the destruction of mangroves, which are vital for building certain ecosystems and retaining nutrients in the soil, thereby preventing them from reaching coastal reefs. The near-disappearance of mangroves, excessive fertilizer use, and improper wastewater discharge have led to eutrophication, where excess nutrients fuel algae growth that suffocates coral polyps by blocking light. Overfishing exacerbates this by reducing fish populations that control algae. Coral reefs, despite being highly productive ecosystems, cannot withstand excessive fishing. These factors have an immediate environmental impact.

The less tangible, long-term factors include Earth’s rising temperature, causing climate change harmful to aquatic environments.

While improperly educated snorkelers can negatively impact the environment, studies have shown that greater damage often comes from boat anchors rather than snorkelers. Fixed moorings in popular diving spots have been introduced to mitigate this. Damage is also concentrated at entry points, where snorkelers, still adjusting to buoyancy and equipment, may inadvertently harm the delicate coral bottom.

As an SNSI and Snorkeling Guide, you have a significant role in reducing snorkelers’ environmental impact. SNSI  believes that well-educated people can positively impact the environment. Education is crucial in transforming snorkelers from being part of the problem to part of the solution. Snorkeling Guides should inform snorkelers about the fragility of corals and marine life and remind them of techniques to prevent coral damage:

  • Maintain a distance from the corals or rocks.
  • Avoid touching the corals or wall with fins.
  • Refrain from touching or taking marine life.
  • Educating snorkelers about environmental respect is a continuous mission. Snorkelers today have more opportunities to positively impact the aquatic environment.

As a Snorkeling Guide, you are in a unique position to influence snorkelers positively and meaningfully. Encourage snorkelers to participate in these initiatives and educate them about the importance and fragility of the underwater world.

M

Snorkeling Guide