SOUTH LAKE TACHO, California (AP) – On Friday, a team of scuba divers completed their first dive as part of a massive six-month effort to rid the popular Lake Tahoe of fishing rods, tires, aluminum cans, beer bottles and other accumulating debris. under water.
According to Colin West, diver Colin West, a team of five to ten divers plans to search and excavate debris along the entire 72 miles (115 kilometers) of the coastline in what could be the largest debris cleanup in Lake Tahoe history. filmmaker who founded Clear the lake, a non-profit organization leading the project.
“We’re still learning not to be so wasteful. But unfortunately, as a species, we still live, and there is a lot of things, ”West said after completing the first dive.
The team collected about 200 pounds (90 kg) of debris during the single-tank session and found 20 large or heavy items, including buckets filled with cement and car bumpers that would later have to be picked up by a crane boat, he said.
They plan to dive three days a week to a depth of 25 feet (7 meters). The clean-up effort will cost $ 250,000 – money the nonprofit raised through grants – and will last until November.
West began cleaning the beaches along the lake after he visited Belize and saw they were littered with rubbish. But in 2018, after a diver friend told him that he and others had collected 600 pounds (272 kg) of debris from the water on the east bank of the Tagus, he decided to focus on the debris in the water.
“I was shocked and we started to explore and survey the surface, and we kept pulling out debris and more debris,” said West, who lives in Stateline, Nevada.
During an exploratory dive in September 2019, his team removed more than 300 pounds (136 kilograms) of debris from the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe and planned to clean up the entire coastline last year. But the pandemic has postponed these plans.
But a group of volunteers, which includes not only divers but a support team of kayaks, boats and jet skis, continued to dive and clean up both Lake Tahoe and nearby Lake Donner. By the end of last summer, they had collected over 4 tons (4 metric tons) of debris from both lakes.