Bond Safari Kovalam, a company that provides scuba diving and snorkelling services to tourists in Kovalam, has since taken up a campaign that goes beyond the cheer of personal highs and tries to address an issue that poses a serious threat to marine life and beaches – piling plastic waste. The campaign, titled Ocean Love, was launched on February 14. The idea was to make a departure from the Valentine’s Day staples of red roses and surprise declarations, and on the sidelines, have Bond Safari divers and students from a local school – run by an NGO, Sebastian Indian Social Projects – collect plastic dumped under the sea, segregate and dispose it.
As part of the International Women’s Day celebrations, the Ocean Love campaign saw eight women diving in for an underwater clean-up. Bond Safari is tagging the first leg of the campaign with popular festivals and special events but it also becomes imperative to bring local administrators and stakeholders in to ensure that the efforts translate to results.
“It’s an interesting initiative – tagging scuba diving, something that is widely seen as part of leisure or adventure tourism, to an environmental cause of this nature. But it also takes the policy-makers to make that crucial difference when it comes to actual implementation of these plans,” says Jayakrishnan M, a traveller and adventure sport enthusiast.
Jackson Peter, Managing Partner of Bond Safari Kovalam believes that scuba diving, despite being relatively new in these parts of the country, could provide the right platform for a campaign like Ocean Love. “Tourism the world over is shifting from the sight-seeing drills to experiences and activities. And wherever beach tourism is being promoted, scuba diving is a key feature,” he says.
Bond Safari was launched in 2016 in partnership with the Spain-based Cool Divers SL. Apart from offering services like Sea Life Safari, the group conducts courses in swimming and diving. “My experience in Spain had me planning for a similar set-up in Kerala. The state was also losing out to other destinations because it didn’t offer scuba diving services,” says Jackson.
His team members are taking more enquiries on the Ocean Love campaign and collating feedback on social media. For inspiration and that push to deliver, perhaps they can always revisit the message on a placard one of the campaigners held during the Women’s Day event – “There’s no Planet B”.