At the age of 8, a young scuba diver collects 600 kilograms of waste plastics to help the ocean breathe
“When diving, we should not hold our breath. “It’s perhaps the most fundamental rule in scuba diving,” Thaaragai Aarathana, 8, says as she gives ‘instruction on diving 101.’
Thaaragai, a native of Karapakkam, Chennai, has always had a special relationship with the sea. She credits her fascination with scuba diving to her father, Aravind Tharunsri, a scuba diving specialist and instructor who has encouraged her to explore underwater life since she was a child.
“I’ve been scuba diving for more than 20 years, and I wanted my daughter to be exposed to the ocean and aquatic ecology from a young age.” “I believe that children should learn to swim at an early age,” says Aravind, who owns a scuba diving facility in Chennai and Puducherry. “She now has a strong passion for the ocean and is profoundly concerned about the marine ecosystem, which is constantly threatened,” he says. Aside from scuba diving, the father-daughter pair has been cleaning beaches and the water, as well as raising awareness about marine pollution.
“As a scuba diver, I’ve seen firsthand the degree of pollution and its impact on marine ecology. So the very least I can do is raise awareness and participate in clean-ups, which is within my capabilities,” says Aravind, an experienced scuba diver since 2007.
“I’ve been cleaning up the water and beaches for over 17 years and have gathered over 10,000 kg of plastic rubbish,” he adds.
Aravind is now joined in his attempts to clean up the beach and the seas by his daughter. “My daughter and I are in it together, and we have collected almost 600 kg of plastic bottles so far,” he explains, “which we resell to plastic scrap merchants, who then recycle the bottles.” Thaaraagi now desires to contribute the profits from the sale of the plastic garbage to the Tamil Nadu Department of Environment.” plastic scrap merchants, which then recycle it.
Saving the sea cows (Dugongs)
Aravind believes that acclimating children to water at a young age is critical. “I’ve wanted my child to be around water since she was a baby, so we started introducing her to it when she was just three days old.” She began floating at the age of nine months. She began swimming at the age of two and a half years,” he explains.
“I used to carry her with me wherever I went and make her happy with water.” She began diving at the age of five, but just in shallow waters, and by the age of seven, she was incredibly comfortable swimming and diving,” Aravind explains with a smile.
“It is crucial to instil such principles in children from an early age since they constitute the future generation,” says Aravind, a marine conservation advocate who has been urging his daughter to participate in his efforts.
Thaaragai enjoys cleaning up beaches and swimming in the ocean, according to her. “Whenever my father took me to do beach clean-ups, he would tell me about how the ocean and beaches were becoming contaminated and how it was affecting marine life.” As a result, I felt compelled to assist my father in gathering plastic debris from both the beaches and the ocean,” says Thaaragai, who is presently in Class 2.
“I have been offering training to the forest department, the marine police, and the fisheries department, together with the Wildlife Institute of India,” Aravind said of his daughter’s passion in rescuing marine animals. As a result, I was given the chance to assist the Wildlife Institute of India in their efforts to conserve the dugong, an endangered sea species. I used to take my daughter with me when I went out. She used to go to the community awareness as well, and she gradually developed an interest in dugongs.”
“She has been giving presentations to raise awareness among school kids about the need of saving marine wildlife like dugongs,” he continues.
“All the plastics and nets within the ocean make it impossible for marine species to thrive,” Thaaragai explains. As a result, it is critical to take action to protect them from the danger. It’s also appropriate for other terrestrial animals.”
Thaaragai reportedly swam an 18-kilometre length from Covelong to Neelankari with the theme ‘Save the Ocean,’ following in her father’s footsteps to raise awareness about the need of marine life conservation. In Assist World Records, she set a new record.