Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners

Country The Netherlands
Started 2005

While the impacts of litter washed up or left on our shoreline can easily be seen, the same cannot be said for marine litter that is below the surface of the ocean. Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners or N.A.R.C for short are a voluntary group of divers with a passion for keeping the underwater environment in Pembrokeshire as pristine as it should be. Since its inception in 2005 by local diver Dave Kennard and Keep Wales Tidy the group has carried out over 60 underwater clean-ups and a number of awareness raising events. N.A.R.C can be found at a number of sites along the coastline throughout the diving season collecting litter that is often having a negative impact on the habitat and the wildlife it supports. Everything from shopping trolleys, car batteries, bikes, fishing tackle and quite literally the kitchen sink are removed by divers before being cleaned and recycled where possible. Divers descend in buddy pairs armed with scissors, bags, trays, lifting bags and a great belief in what they are doing. Dives can last almost an hour in which litter is collected, bagged and sent to the surface for retrieval by a support boat. The diversity of litter found on dives is staggering with mobile phones, shopping trolleys, bicycles, revolving chairs, skate boards, batteries and quite literally the kitchen sink! The highest presence of litter is from recreational fishing with weights, rods, hooks and endless amounts of line retrieved from dives all around the county. The impacts upon wildlife are only too apparent with fishing line often cut from spider crabs and lobsters, dog fish released from hooks and lost crab pots ghost fishing. The litter can also be a hazard to divers and other water users. Once retrieved the various items are cleaned, sorted, recorded and recycled where possible.