Divers Collect Over 200 Lbs. of Trash from Lake Tahoe in a Single Day

by Halle Ames

Scuba divers in Lake Tahoe reportedly collected over 200 pounds of trash in a single day from the area.

A group of scuba divers suited up and headed to California’s Lake Tahoe on Friday as part of a six-month cleanup effort. The group accumulated more than 200 pounds of fishing rods, tires, aluminum cans, beer bottles, and other trash underwater in just one day.

Lake Tahoe is Flooded with Trash

Diver and filmmaker Colin West, the founder of the nonprofit group, Clean Up the Lake, said that this is just the beginning. The team plans to scour the whole 72 miles of shoreline surrounding the lake. According to the Guardian, the project would be the largest trash cleanup in Lake Tahoe’s history.

After West’s first dive, he recalls how much garbage he saw in the lake.

“We are still learning not to be so wasteful. But unfortunately, as a species, we still are, and there are a lot of things down there.”

In addition to the hundreds of pounds of small, retrievable trash, West said there is still much more under the surface at Lake Tahoe. Nearly 20 larger items the diver discovered were not able to retrieve. They include buckets filled with cement and car bumpers, which West notes will have to be recovered later by a boat with a crane.

Furthermore, West says divers plan to search the lake three days a week, as deep as 25 feet.

The Clean Up the Lake nonprofit has been raising money for Lake Tahoe’s cleanup effort. They have collected more than $250,000 through grants and should last them through November.

The Inspiration

Colin West said he was inspired to do his part in cleaning the lake after visiting Belize. He said the Caribbean shores were covered in trash.

After, West spoke with a friend that recalled collecting 600 pounds of trash from the waters on Tahoe’s eastern shore.

“I was blown away, and we started researching and going underneath the surface, and we kept pulling up trash and more trash,” explained West.

In September of 2019, West and his team removed 300 pounds of litter from the popular tourist attraction’s easter shore. Enough was enough. The diver launched the Clean Up the Lake nonprofit shortly after.

The website notes that the organization, made up of 10 volunteer divers as well as support crew on kayaks, boats, and jet skis, took on the task of restoring Lake Tahoe and nearby Donner Lake to their beautiful, clean selves. By the end of the 2020 summer, they had collected more than four tons of trash from both lakes.

Please do your part and DO NOT LITTER! The outdoors is for all, so please don’t be selfish—furthermore, cheers to you, Colin, and your group of generous volunteers. You are making this world a better place!