Divers wrap 72-mile clean up of Lake Tahoe

Divers wrap 72-mile clean up of Lake Tahoe
Colin West, founder of Clean Up The Lake, recovers litter from the nearshore of Lake Tahoe. Image: Clean Up The Lake

LAKE TAHOE – The shoreline clean-up of all 72 miles of Lake Tahoe was completed this week by the SCUBA team from Clean Up The Lake, a Lake Tahoe-based nonprofit.

Clean Up The Lake launched the project May 14, 2021 with a goal of removing trash and debris from the nearshore of Lake Tahoe. In all, the team collected 24,797 pieces of litter totaling more than 25,000 pounds. Divers were in the lake a total of 81 days and conducted 189 separate clean-up dives.

Tire rims, cinder blocks and other litter on the bottom of Lake Tahoe that was recovered by Clean Up The Lake divers. Image: Clean Up The Lake

Divers recovered “typical” litter from Tahoe’s waters such as water bottles and cans, but also found a number of unexpected items. Some of the more surprising hauls included engagement rings, 1980s film cameras, “no littering” signs, engine blocks and cordless home phones.

Clean Up The Lake said they’ll donate some of the recovered items for creation of a sculpture, “Surfaced,” that will be installed at Tahoe South Events Center to educate visitors about Tahoe’s waters.

The organization will also partner with scientific and environmental organizations to study the recovered litter and how it may have impacted Lake Tahoe.

“While the dive team has removed many expected and unexpected items along the way, ultimately what we hope people remember is the length that one group of individuals was willing to go to in order to protect their home and their planet, and in turn people should ask themselves how they are choosing to contribute to preserving our environment today,” Colin West, founder of Clean Up The Lake, said.

West said his organization will continue monitoring projects at Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake, which was cleaned up in 2021, and spearhead cleanups in Fallen Leaf Lake, just south of Lake Tahoe, and June Lake in the Mammoth area this summer.

Source: Clean Up The Lake