May 25, 2022
The scuba divers that swim far below the surface of Lake Tahoe aren’t looking for reefs or sunken treasure. The divers are hunting for trash. The garbage hurts the ecosystem. It contributes to the death of underwater creatures. It threatens wildlife on the shore too.
The divers harvest trash from the entire 72-mile-long lake. They then sort the litter on the shore for recycling.
“It’s shocking to see how much trash has accumulated under what appears to be such a pristine lake,” the founder of Tahoe Blue Vodka, tells the Associated Press. The vodka maker has donated $100,000 to the cleanup. The founder notes that hotels, casinos, and ski resorts depend on the more than 15 million people who visit each year.
The scientists plan underwater cleanup missions in other lakes too. Then, they will head even deeper into the depths of Tahoe.
Amy Berry, CEO of the nonprofit Tahoe Fund, which helped raise money for the cleanup, says the group has paid for a sculpture. The piece will be made from the Tahoe trash that isn’t recycled. It will be in an events center being built on the lake’s south shore.
Says Berry: “Our hope is that it will inspire greater environmental stewardship and remind those who love Lake Tahoe that it’s up to all of us to take care of it.”
Photo by Ben Carless courtesy of Unsplash.