Always at the cutting edge of environmental campaigns, Red Sea Diving College – based in the Scuba diving resort of Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt – have been at it again with an all-Russian underwater clean-up of Naama Bay jetty involving 30 divers from both Moscow and Siberia.

The divers – from Admiral Benbow dive centre in Moscow and Ruslan Ri Dive Time in Novosibirsk – brought up over 60 dive crates full of old bottles in phase three of the jetty clean-up programme organised by staff at Red Sea Diving College.- that’s around 2000 bottles! Two trucks took the glass away for recycling. Both Russian groups had been diving on the College luxury liveaboard VIP One.

Why was the clean-up team composed only of Russians? Mark Fraenkel, spokesperson for the College explained – “Many of us in Sharm are fed up with unfocused complaints from within the Sharm diving community about Russians and their lack of environmental awareness. Years ago similar stereotypes were made about Italians and now plenty of Italians are involved in all kinds of environmental campaigns including – for example, turtle conservation projects”.
Many in the Sharm diving community seem content to sit back and moan about certain nationalities lack of environmental awareness rather than actually doing anything about it. Of course within each nationality there are those leading the attempts to preserve the marine environment and those who are less aware – the Russian community in Sharm is no different. Fraenkel continued “it’s easy to criticize and do nothing, but it helps no-one. Much better to help organise those who want to be active and to start to spread the message. Our next plan is to make an environmental video in Russian and ask all flights from Russia and the other Republics to screen it on inbound flights to Sharm”.

The clean-up – conducted at the end of May and under the direction of Dr Mohammed Salem, the head of the Ras Mohammed national park – was the third of such events over the last year. Activists say that another 2 clean-ups should clear the area completely. Large multi-lingual signs are to be erected at the jetty demanding that people do not throw bottles into the sea.
As a result of the campaign the Red Sea Diving College has already had plenty of calls from other Russian dive guides and instructors who want to be involved in similar campaigns. A particular thanks to College instructors Andrey Leleko and Vlado Zivna for helping organise the project.