Project AWARE 2020: volunteer divers had plenty of waste to recover as they returned to dive in Merisatama, Helsinki

Wärtsilä Corporation, News 4 September 2020 at 11:45 UTC+2

On the sunny Saturday of 29 August, a group of volunteers gathered together to clean the Baltic Sea for Project AWARE. They managed to dive up over 270 kilograms of waste during only a few hours, raising awareness for importance of marine protection.

This year’s Project AWARE event was part of the festivities for the Baltic Sea Day initiated by the John Nurminen Foundation earlier the same week. In addition to Wärtsilä’s volunteers, there were many others making the event happen thanks to active co-hosts including Finnish Divers’ Federation, Project SATAKOLKYT, VELMU, and Cafe Carusel.

Like in 2019, the Project AWARE diving event took place at Merisatama, Helsinki, where many passers-by stopped to find out what all the fuss was about, interested in seeing the items lifted from the sea. As Project AWARE is all about bringing attention to the status of our oceans, it was a delight to see people in such numbers taking part, both in and above the surface.

Among other items, a car battery, a shopping cart, a bicycle, several skateboards, phones, and bottles were found – all that should not in any case be found from the bottom of a sea. All findings were weighed and reported back to the global Project AWARE organisation.

During the event, people had the pleasure of following the Finnish environmental artist, Kristiina Tuura, as she created an art installation out of the waste. “Presenting them makes more of an influence. In this way, people can see all the things thrown into the ocean before they are taken to recycling”, Kristiina said.

Another highlight of the day was the Diver of the Year award Finnish Diver’s Federation awarded Juha Nurminen with. The front man of John Nurminen Foundation, Juha was praised for his extensive diving career and his tremendous work for the benefit of the Baltic Sea. 

Wärtsilä’s local Project Aware team started six years ago by Wärtsilä employees Mauro Sacchi and Harri Mäkelä, both of whom are passionate divers, has engaged over 100 volunteers who have collected more than a ton of garbage. The team of volunteers has, over time, created strong ties with the City of Helsinki and the local diving community, helping them keep the shores of Helsinki clean.

“The most important thing about Project AWARE is to bring awareness to the human effect on marine life - it is our responsibility to keep our seas clean. The meaning of Project AWARE is completely in line with Wärtsilä’s purpose of enabling sustainable societies and that’s why we want to be involved”, Mauro explained.