On Saturday, a team of 633 divers entered the waters near the Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier, in Florida, to clean up trash and debris from the ocean floor.
The divers set the world record for the largest underwater cleanup ever. The milestone was even verified by the Guinness World Records organization, which had staff on the scene to count the divers.
Michael Empric, an adjudicator for Guinness, told the Sun-Sentinel that he counted off every single diver that entered the water for more than 15 minutes. Divers came from all over the world to participate in the event, some of them travelling from as far away as Europe and South America.
“Today, I’m the official eyes and ears of Guinness World Records on the ground. I actually stood there and clicked off everyone as they got in the water. So we know immediately whether or not the record’s been broken,” Empric said.
“It doesn’t matter what happens today with the Guinness World Records. What really matters is that everyone is out there cleaning up around the pier and trying to improve the community,” he added.
The previous record was set in 2015 by a group of 614 divers in the Red Sea, who were led by Ahmed Gabr, a former Egyptian Army scuba diver.
The divers in Florida were able to recover at least 1,626 pounds of trash and 60 pounds of fishing line, according to CNN. However, Tyler Bourgoine, one of the divers who participated in the cleanup, said that the number is likely to rise as crews work to weigh all of the debris that was collected.
“There were countless lead sinkers … everything from a boat ladder to a barbell,” Bourgoine told CNN.
“It was a great time … Everyone was working together and cleaning up one part of the reef or pier,” he added.
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The ocean conservation group Project AWARE estimates that as much as 3,200 pounds of garbage could have been picked up in the effort.
Earlier this month, Truth Theory reported on a disturbing study which found that we are absorbing tens of thousands of plastic particles each year, just in the food we eat and the air that we breathe. It was also noted in the study, that drinking a lot of bottled water can nearly double the presence of toxins in our bodies.
Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the country will ban single-use plastics as early as 2021, following in the footsteps of the European Union.