Dubai-based Odia father-daughter duo sends COP 28 appeal from 70 ft below the sea

Bhubaneswar: Dubai-based Odia scuba divers Priyadarshee Panigrahi and his 13-year-old daughter Tisya Panigrahi have sent out a unique appeal to the ongoing COP 28 conference in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

COP 28 stands for the 28th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change). The conference commenced in Dubai on November 30 and it will continue till December 12.

The conference is being organized to deal with issues related to climate change and global warming. The representatives almost all countries of the world are participating in the meet.

While Priyadarshee is the head of the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) business of a large Indian multinational corporation specializing in fast moving consumer goods), Tisya is a grade 8 student of Raffles World Academy in Dubai.

The father-daughter duo dived around 70-feet-deep in Maldives on December 2 (UAE’s National Day) in the pristine coral reefs near the Sun Siyam Olhuveli resort in South Male Atoll.

After reaching around 70-feet depth in crystal clear waters, surrounded by colorful corals and prolific marine life, they gave out their appeal by holding placards which carried the logo of COP 28 UAE and the simple yet powerful message of ‘PLEASE UNITE.ACT.DELIVER’.

‘Unite.Act.Delive’ happens to be the theme of the COP 28 conference and ‘PLEASE’ was added to this to convey the urgency with which nations need to take action now.

Priyadarshee and Tisya strongly felt that urgent action is required to deal with the climate change.

They chose Maldives because this tiny country of about 1,190 coral islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean is the lowest-lying nation in the world and therefore, rise in the sea level caused by global climate change poses a grave threat to its people.

At the current rate of global warming, almost 80 per cent of the Maldives could become uninhabitable by 2050 as per reports from NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey.

“Global warming leads to a warm ocean which causes thermal stress and coral bleaching. The colorful underwater coral reefs become white in color due to bleaching,” Tisya said.

According to her, diving in the Maldives particularly around the reefs off Sun Siyam Olhuveli resort has been magical for her as she got to see large marine creatures like Grey Reef Sharks, Black Tip Reef Sharks, White Tip Reef Sharks, Reef Manta Rays, Eagle Rays and Turtles.

“We wanted to draw the attention of the conference attendees and remind them of the need for urgent action to deal with the twin issues of climate change and global warming. As the conference is being held in UAE, we opted for December 2 to send out our appeal to the world community,” said Priyadarshee.

Maldivian national Hassan Yaaniu, who is a diving instructor with Sun Siyam Resort Olhuveli’s diving school, accompanied the father-daughter duo in their mission. Yaaniu said he was impressed with Tisya’s scuba diving skills. He also appreciated the father-daughter duo’s efforts to educate the world about climate change.

Notably, Tisya became Odisha’s youngest scuba diver in 2020 (at the age of 10) and also became the state’s youngest junior advanced scuba diver in 2022 when she dived 70 feet in Fujairah, UAE on her 12th Birthday to complete her certification from PADI.

The father-daughter diving duo have been in the news for various reasons like sending out Nuakhai wishes from under the sea and diving with sharks in December last year.

Inspired by Tisya, Priyadarshee dived 100 feet in Malaysia to secure his advanced scuba diving licence in April this year.

Both of them got their certifications from PADI, California. The USA-headquartered PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) is the world’s largest ocean exploration and diver organization, operating in 186 countries and territories with a global network of more than 6,600 dive centers and resorts.

Tisya happens to be the granddaughter of former Minister and Member of Parliament Late Sriballav Panigrahi and educationist Late Sunanda Panigrahi. She is a close relative of former Sambalpur MLA Dr. Rasewari Panigrahi.

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