The Foundation of Goodness is a holistic rural development model that seeks to bridge the urban-rural divide in Sri Lanka via 10 empowerment divisions across 900+ villages island-wide, and reached over 307,000+ beneficiaries in 2022 alone by way of 15 Empowerment Centres, free of cost.
Sri Lankans have always been people of the Sea. Being an island nation, many of us have reaped our livelihoods from the sea, grown up around a constant sea breeze and we have learnt to treat the sea with awe and respect. The ocean is said to be Earth’s life support, containing 97% of the world’s water resources. We rely on it to regulate our climate, absorb CO2 and it is the number one source for protein for over a billion people. However, at the rate we are polluting the ocean with around 12.7 million tonnes of plastic a year, the damage we are doing to marine life and our ecosystem is becoming irreparable. 100,000 sea creatures and 1 million sea birds die each year from ingesting and becoming tangled in plastic. 88% of the sea’s surface is polluted by plastic waste. This year, the number of plastics in the sea will be higher than the number of fish. Our actions over the next 10 years will determine the state of the ocean for the next 10,000 years to come.
It is against this backdrop that our dive centre, Dive for Good, has begun the remarkable Ocean Care Initiative. On the 18th of January 2020, five of our very own certified divers, from our Dive for Good Centre in Seenigama, took a dive of a very different kind made possible by the kind sponsorship of Columbus Tours Sri Lanka. For 4 hours these divers scoured the ocean floor for trash of every kind. The result was unbelievable. The divers were able to collect a staggering 20 Kg of trash from just one area! This included plastic, fabric, polythene, timber, rubber, fishing nets and much more. Our successful dive awakened us to the magnitude of the pollution levels in the oceans of Sri Lanka.
Hence, Ocean Care was initiated with the hope that we could in someway help mitigate the tremendous amount of pollution harming our seas. Once a week, our divers, who have 15 years of diving experience in the area will dive to a maximum depth of 20 meters and a maximum distance 30 minutes from Dive for Good Centre. Their goal is to collect a minimum of 20 Kg of trash in 4 hours, with the hope that our region will be free of plastic someday. In Asia, the average plastic use is currently at 20 kilograms (44 pounds) per person. Therefore, you could eradicate your entire yearly plastic pollution with us!
For those who may not know, Dive for Good is not an ordinary diving centre. We are a sustainable income-generation arm of the Foundation of Goodness, which was able to impact the lives of more than 31,500 rural locals last year. At Dive for Good we train our local, rural beneficiaries in professional diving, giving them the opportunity to obtain gainful employment in the dive industry. This means all funds generated through your dive goes directly toward the charity and allows it to continue to train all of the recruits it takes in every year.