Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners
920. Dave Kennard
Dave Kennard, from Pembrokeshire, is tackling the vast quantities of discarded fishing equipment polluting the seabed near his home with the UK’s first underwater clean-up charity.
Dave, an amateur diver, set up ‘Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners’ in 2005 after being shocked to find so much old kit in the sea and learning about the deadly effect it has on local wildlife. His team of volunteer divers work in partnership with the local fishing community and have completed 300 underwater clean-up missions, cleared over 10,000 lead weights and recycled abandoned gear including miles of fishing line. Dave and his volunteers have inspired the creation of other clean-up diving groups internationally, including the ‘Loutraki Divers’ in Greece. They also work closely with local conservation groups to help preserve the National Park status of the Pembrokeshire Coast.
Dave is one of five volunteers receiving a Points of Light award to mark World Oceans Day on Friday 8 June, recognising their work to support ocean conservation:
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) June 10, 2018
In a personal letter to Dave, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“The work of your voluntary group of divers is making an important contribution to marine conservation efforts on Pembrokeshire’s protected coasts. By conducting hundreds of underwater clean-ups, you have shown remarkable dedication to reducing the damaging impact that lost and discarded fishing equipment is having on thousands of marine animals.”
Stephen Crabb, MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, who presented Dave with his award, said:
“Dave has taken his hobby of scuba diving and turned it into a force for good, selflessly giving up his time to clean Pembrokeshire’s coastline and sea bed.
“With this being the ‘Year of the Sea’, I’m delighted that the Prime Minister has recognised the valuable contribution Dave and NARC have done and many congratulations to him on this award.”
Pictured below: Dave receiving his award from Stephen Crabb MP
“It’s great to see the profile of marine pollution being raised as it’s criminal to see the waste in our seas: I am sure people would be up in arms if it was in their local park or favourite beauty spot, and hopefully would want to do something about it. That’s why I set up ‘Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners’ in 2005. With this being the ‘Year of the Sea’ we need to protect her as much as possible by keeping her healthy and free from our waste. The rubbish over the years that we have found in the sea ranges massively from household objects (microwaves, washing machine parts) to a car once dumped off a harbour wall. Hopefully this will be a good year and we won’t find so much rubbish.”