By Al Hornsby

This is kind of a special month for diving, because it's the time every year that we have the chance, all of us together, to say, "Thanks, Mother Nature. The marine world you have shared with us, as divers, has touched our hearts and given our lives a special passion. And, we want to give something back, on the special day we've created to help clean up some of our human messes, those discards we've left on your waterways' shores and in the shallows.

"We know what we can do is finite, but when it's two, 10, 20 and 100 of us and more, we hope our efforts, just maybe, can be something you'll notice. And if even one of your lovely creatures is spared the agony of accidentally ingesting something harmful, or of getting caught in some line or other piece of refuse, then certainly, we can feel our efforts were more than worthwhile.

"And if children around the world hear that divers and their friends and families are out cleaning up, on Cleanup Day, then maybe they'll ask, the way kids do, 'Why?' And maybe, just maybe, the answers we give will be remembered, and then there will be another person, or another two people, or 10 or 20 or 100 or more who will understand just how much you need us and just how much we need you.

"So, on Cleanup Day, we'll be out there. Our local dive store has bags and tally sheets, and has signed on as a coordinator for our local beach with the CMC-PADI Project AWARE-DEMA cleanup effort. All around the world, there will be 40,000 of us divers out there doing our part. Just think of that, 40,000 divers all doing something just for you."

And I'll bet every one of us will be thinking, "Thanks, Mother Nature, thanks."
September 18, 1999, is International Beach and Underwater Cleanup Day.