A few questions have come up in the comment sections after the media posted our story… I would like to take a moment to answer them here.
Q) who hauls all these batteries after they have been removed?
A) My dive buddies and I removed the batteries from the site and take them to an environmentally friendly scrap metal recycling facility. Most of them I could take in myself, but i had to enlist my dive buddy’s truck for the 160lb battery.
Q) why not just leave them, they are not hurting anything…
A) Prove to me that bare lead and heavy metals in water is of zero impact and they are not eyesores in the beautiful UW world and I’ll be happy to leave them. Oh wait, I can’t, we already took them out.
Q) What divers used these as navigational aids?
A) Many of us would take note of them when swimming across an area between where there is now a boundary line and a line put in as a ‘trail’ to guide divers to some of the points of interest at this site (some amazing pilings covered with life, a small wreck that often has a few giant pacific octopus under it, a set of I-beams covered in metridium anemones… If we left the rock pile at the top of the i-beams, we knew that if we turned “left” (upslope) at the 70′ battery, we’d end up right at the entryway. This was more prevalent in years past before the lines were in place to guide folks. An interesting side note: where we thought there was a single battery there were in fact 6 or 7. We just kept seeing a different one depending on our angle up the slope.
Q) Who is paying for this? A) I am still paying for the privilege to remove discarded batteries from Puget Sound. I have turned the money around from the scrap metal recycling plant directly into the project to pay for more lift bags and mesh sacks for the second phase of plastic removal. No one will pay me for the plastic and garbage we remove so my already minimal ‘funding’ so to speak is drying up. Everyone who has been volunteering their assistance in this project is donating their time and the money as filling tanks is not free, and i am tremendously grateful to them as it would not have been possible otherwise.
Again thank you all for your kind words, they mean the world to me… Projects like this often feel a bit like tilting at windmills… I know its just a tiny infinitesimal microscopic scratch in the bigger picture of pollution and trash that is poisoning Puget Sound, but it is something _tangible_ that we could do and build a bit of momentum for a weekly cleaning effort Its often hard to build actual momentum for a movement if you have nothing to show for it. This allowed my divers to have something to show for their efforts and have fun doing it.
For those who are wondering how they can help if they are not divers or don’t have time to get out to the beach for a cleanup, I did figure out how to put a donate now button on the page. Your donations would be used to help pay for equipment and consumables for the cleanups.