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A community effort with over 600 divers breaks the world record for the ‘largest underwater cleanup’

Another Guinness World Record has been set this month after hundreds of certified divers participated in an underwater cleanup drive in a south Florida beach. 

On Saturday, June 13, a diving store in Florida, USA hosted what was to be the world’s largest underwater cleanup drive. Called “Dixie Divers,” the store has been organizing an annual cleanup drive over the past 15 years. Its owner, Arilton Pavan, shared in an interview how he has made it his personal mission to promote care and awareness on the environment.

An Annual Commitment

Every once in a year, Pavan would gather divers and swimmers from all over Florida to collect lead weights from the bottom of the ocean floor. He says these weights, previously used by fishermen from the city pier, have always been a problem in the community.

This year, however, Pavan decided to level up the annual cleanup drive to encourage more divers to participate in the cause. He made the event an attempt to beat Egypt’s world record, which had a total of 614 divers participate in an ocean cleanup drive in 2015.


Breaking a World Record

According to Pavan, in order to successfully set a new record, his team had to abide by a few rules. First, only certified scuba divers who were in full scuba gear were counted. Second, each diver had to spend more than 15 minutes collecting trash underwater in order for him or her to be qualified in the record. Lastly, each participant must have signed a waiver before going into the water.

At the end of the event, a total of 633 divers officially participated. Within three hours, the whole team was able to collect more than 1,200 pounds of lead fishing weights from the ocean floor.

Aside from this record-breaking number of 633 divers, Pavan also shared that there were about 80 snorkelers and 150 beach volunteers who helped out the cause despite knowing that they wouldn’t be included in the record. 

“I think everybody was happy,” Pavan shared. “There was a sense of friendship, helping each other.”

In the future, Pavan plans to organize multiple cleanup drives throughout the year. He also added that he is now “slowly” working on educating the Florida community to be more mindful of their trash and the environment.

We wish you luck, Pavan! Your cause definitely has the My Pope stamp of approval!

To learn more about Dixie Divers and how you can help out in their cause, visit their Facebook page.


Text by Aizel Dolom. 

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