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Volunteer divers remove 1.6 tons of discarded tires and other waste from Red Sea

Coast Patrol, an Eilat NGO, joins forces with local diving club in annual cleanup operation that takes months to prepare

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Volunteers with Eilat's Coast Patrol posing with some of the tires they brought up from the seafloor in an annual cleanup operation. (Amit Liber)
Volunteers with Eilat's Coast Patrol posing with some of the tires they brought up from the seafloor in an annual cleanup operation. (Amit Liber)

Volunteer divers in the Red Sea Port of Eilat spent the weekend lugging 1.6 tons of discarded tires and other waste from the seabed to the shore as part of an annual cleanup operation.

The divers, active in a countrywide not-for-profit marine protection organization called The Coast Patrol, worked with members of the city’s Palamida diving club and in cooperation with the Eilat Municipality and the navy.

The waste they retrieved ranged from tractor and truck tires and sheets of iron to old heating appliances, trash cans, and fishing weights.

The complicated operation began two months ago with three dives to assess, document, and map the waste at different depths and to raise the funds for the cleanup.

“This is a complex engineering operation with a large number of divers, dedicated floating equipment, and planning that sometimes takes several months,” said Idan Mishol, who planned this year’s event.

“Despite the respectable quantity of tires removed from the seafloor, one has to bear in mind that this is a drop in the ocean and that there is still a great deal of debris on the bottom.”

“These complex cleaning operations are far from finished.”

Eilat is home to rare and fragile coral reefs and is a key tourism destination. However, it is also a key port for Israeli imports from the east.

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