As originally reported by Egypt Independent, a massive reef cleanup effort is underway in Hurghada, with over 50 volunteer divers participating in a campaign to remove litter from the Red Sea.
These participants, hailing from all corners of the globe, share one common goal - to reduce the rubbish threatening this region's pristine coral reef ecosystem. Once removed, the trash will be sorted, documented, and disposed of safely in Hurghada.
In recent months, many of Egypt's Red Sea towns have taken up positions as leaders in the country's fight against climate change and pollution, with numerous cleanup campaigns taking place. One of the most successful events took place in July - with a group of divers in Dahab lifting a shocking seven tonnes of trash from the bottom of the Red Sea.
Egypt's coastal areas see large numbers of tourists each year, many of whom are drawn to the region by snorkelling, diving, and boat tours in its gin-clear waters. But, for this trend to continue, these oceanic attractions will require extra protection. Local conservation groups are taking note - actively working with local authorities to preserve the Red Sea's fragile environment, while still allowing tourists to enjoy the area's beauty.
The majority of Egypt's coral reefs are found along the Red Sea's coasts, the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba - where over a thousand different fish species live among 250 different varieties of coral. In fact, the Red Sea's reefs are among the richest in the world for overall species diversity.
Unfortunately, coral reef degradation has increased dramatically during the last three decades, particularly along the Egyptian Red Sea's coast. Human-made disturbances, including ocean acidification, climate change, agricultural runoff, and industrial pollution are primarily to blame. However, rubbish also presents a major problem for coral and wildlife alike.
These cleanups, as well as other environmental efforts like enforcing responsible boating practices, are an essential first step toward tougher protection for Egypt's underwater world.