An environmentally-conscious Cayman Islands diving firm has been awarded the coveted PADI Green Star Award.
It is given for outstanding performance in initiating green, business and social responsibility practices and shows a commitment to conservation and the aquatic environment. Emma Nicholsby of Divetech said that PADI had a number of initiatives to get people more aware and get companies more involved with being green.
“You fill in an application form and are awarded points; if you get a certain amount of points you win the award,” she said. “We signed up a while ago to Project Aware to be 100 per cent aware. Divetech gives a donation of $10 each time we qualify five students. They get a card and they can join Project Aware as well. Some of them make a donation, too.”
As part of the award, Divetech can display stickers and has already launched the accolade on social media.
“My idea is then to get a Green Aware board so that customers can see what initiatives we and they are doing. Behind the scenes here we have paper shredding which is used for packaging; there’s also recycle bins. Cobalt Coast, the hotel here, takes the glassware, the Department of Environmental Health takes our tins and Foster’s has recycle bins for the plastic.
“Lighthouse Point is a totally green building with recycling wastewater, solar panels and so on. There are lots of things we do,” she said.
Another thing Divetech has started to introduce is e-learning rather than using a paper diving manual, for example, plus encouraging people to have reusable rather than plastic water bottles and continued efforts along with the dive community in assisting with the culling of lionfish.
The dive community in general is environmentally-aware, Ms Nicholsby said, but the opportunity still exists for Cayman to improve its efforts in various areas.
“We could do a lot more on the recycling,” she said. “For example, in the UK they have various different bins even for composting. People should be aware that there are recycling bins at Camana Bay but how many people separate their rubbish at home? There needs to be more education on that.
“And if you drive around West Bay there is rubbish at the sides of the roads and even debris on the beach,” she said. “There could be more clean-up; the more trash that goes in the ocean affects the marine environment. The amount of money diving generates is huge and that should not be put in jeopardy.”