LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KRON) — A team of scuba divers completed an extraordinary effort to recover submerged litter around all 72 miles of Lake Tahoe’s shoreline.

Clean Up The Lake, a local nonprofit behind the cleanup project, said its effort was launched on May 14, 2021. This week, scuba divers completed the lake’s circumference on the shore of Edgewood Beach.

In total, the dive team collected 24,797 pieces of trash weighing 25,281 pounds.

(Image courtesy Clean Up The Lake)

Lake Tahoe is world famous for its brilliant blue water. The lake’s natural beauty attracts droves of visitors in the summer and winter who leave behind trash.

Lake Tahoe resident and environmentalist Colin West founded Clean Up The Lake to tackle the problem and keep Tahoe blue.

“Over the past year, despite winter weather, COVID, and wildfire-related challenges, our dive team
has been in the water at every opportunity to complete this unforgettable effort,” West said.

“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,” West said.

(Image courtesy Clean Up The Lake)

As divers circumnavigated the lake, they recovered “typical” litter such as plastic bottles. Divers also scooped out engagement rings, 1980’s Nikon film cameras, lamp posts, “no littering” signs, massive pieces of broken boats and engine blocks, and lost wallets.

More than 100 trained volunteers participated.

(Image courtesy Clean Up The Lake)

Clean Up The Lake will collaborate with scientific institutions and environmental consultants to
study the recovered litter to develop a better understanding of its impact on Lake Tahoe’s health.

Scuba divers will also perform underwater cleanups across more lakes later this year. This will include a circumnavigated cleanup of Fallen Leaf Lake and June Lake.