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'Ploving' or cleaning up the ocean one dive at a time on Jeju Island Updated: 2022-09-02 11:48:01 KST

Over in the southern resort island of Jeju.
Some people there are adding new meaning to the phrase "picking up after" others by doing so at sea.
In fact my colleague Lee Shi-hoo chose to dive right into the mission.
Do take a look.

On a rainy day on Jeju Island, a group of people gather in wet suits and bathing suits.
They are here to do what's known as 'ploving.' The name 'ploving' is a portmanteau of "plocka upp" meaning "pick up" in Swedish and diving.
Ploving involves picking up ocean trash from underwater and from the beach.
It's a trend among those who enjoy diving and want to help the environment.
Groups of like-minded people meet through social media, where they also share pictures of their litterpicking sessions.

"So we're getting ready to dive into the ocean to collect some trash that's been carried away by the storm that's happened this weekend."

One by one, the divers enter the ocean with sacks to carry the trash.
The group heads to the area with the most waste.
But on the way, they already spot a large abandoned net.
It has been underwater for so long that it's got tangled up with the seaweeds.
The divers cut the net from the seabed and carry it back to the shore.
Back on the beach, the plovers are busy picking up all kinds of trash.
Much of the work also takes place underwater.

For the first time, the amount of ocean trash collected from seashores on Jeju Island last year amounted to over 20,000 tonnes.
Nationwide, a total of 120-thousand tonnes of marine waste was collected in 2021.
Regional governments have hired people to do clean-ups, but that is not enough which is why this group of professional and hobby divers do what they do.
"I like to play in the ocean, and when fish consume this broken styrofoam, the ocean will get sicker. I'm doing this because I want to see the ocean preserved."

After a couple of hours of strenuous work, the area is free of trash and the group swims back to where they began with sacks of trash in their hands.
The bags are heavy, but the camaraderie of the group eases the burden.

"It would be ideal if all the people around the world joined in with our efforts, but I hope at least the people who enjoy water sports won't throw away trash into the ocean."

The plovers say they will continue to do good for the planet one dive at a time.
Lee Shi-hoo, Arirang News, Jeju.
Reporter : slee@arirang.com
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