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Divers removed 11.5 tonnes of rubbish in unusual lake clean-up operation - video

A group of divers removed more than 11 tonnes of rubbish during a litter clean-up operation in the waters of Lake Tahoe. Anchors, vinyl records and even walkmans – these and many other things were among the 11 tonnes of rubbish that divers removed from the bottom of Lake Tahoe. All as part of the
Published: May 30, 2022 - 17:37
Updated: July 23, 2023 - 00:47
Divers removed 11.5 tonnes of rubbish in unusual lake clean-up operation – video

A group of divers removed more than 11 tonnes of rubbish during a litter clean-up operation in the waters of Lake Tahoe.

Anchors, vinyl records and even walkmans – these and many other things were among the 11 tonnes of rubbish that divers removed from the bottom of Lake Tahoe. All as part of the year-long Clean Up the Lake campaign, which aimed to clean up 115km of shoreline around the reservoir.

Debris at the bottom of Lake Tahoe
Trash lining the bottom of Lake Tahoe Photo: Ludovic Fekete/Clean Up the Lake

11 tonnes of rubbish removed as part of Clean Up the Lake campaign

Dive volunteers have been systematically conducting a cleanup of Lake Tahoe for 12 months. In consecutive dives they removed 4,500 aluminium cans, 280 pairs of sunglasses, mobile phones and over a hundred anchors. They also came across some more unique items such as a Nikon camera from the 1980s, a lantern, vinyl records and a walkman.

The Clean Up the Lake campaign was organised and started in May 2021 by one local resident and diver Colin West. It all started when his colleague told him about the 275kg of rubbish he had taken out of the lake waters. West decided to contribute something of his own and so the idea of cleaning up the shoreline of Lake Tahoe was born.

Most of the rubbish we have taken out is simply from us, the people who are here. It is construction debris, beer cans, sunglasses or hats that fly off the boat. Of course, there is intentional litter. However, most of it is accidental. We are all part of the problem said Colin West, organiser of the Clean Up the Lake campaign.

The result was the Clean Up the Lake project, which involved as many as 136 dive volunteers. It is also worth mentioning that even though the Clean Up the Lake Tahoe campaign has come to an end, the divers are still active.

They plan to clean more bodies of water in the area: Donner Lake and Fallen Leaf, as well as Mammoth Lake and June Lake. In addition, divers will continue to monitor the shoreline of Lake Tahoe, and will try to clean the deeper parts of the lake.

Photo: Ludovic Fekete/Clean Up the Lake


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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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