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More than 8,000 pounds of trash removed from Tahoe’s east shore

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 12:51 PM PDT
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INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. (KOLO) - Keeping Tahoe clean and blue.

That is the goal as divers pull thousands of pounds of trash from 72 miles of Lake Tahoe’s shoreline.

On Wednesday, the SCUBA Dive team that started the trash recovery effort provided an update to the community after completing the underwater clean-up of Lake Tahoe’s east shore, removing 8,122 pounds of trash.

An effort is underway to collect trash from Lake Tahoe's 72-mile shoreline.
An effort is underway to collect trash from Lake Tahoe's 72-mile shoreline.(Clean Up The Lake)

So far, divers have covered 22.55 miles of shoreline since beginning the clean-up effort at Edgewood on Lake Tahoe’s south shore May 14.

“The sheer volume of trash that has been recovered in just this first stretch of shoreline is incredible”

Matt Levitt, Founder of Tahoe Blue Vodka

While the majority of waste has consisted of plastics that break apart over time and impact the lake’s aquatic species, bottles, cans, golf balls, tennis balls and other items have also been found. Some of the most unique items recovered include an Incline Village property owner’s ID card from the late 1970s, a rubber snake, a geocache box that was last found three years ago by another volunteer diver, and a radio walkman that connected to a belt buckle.

An effort is underway to collect trash from Lake Tahoe's 72-mile shoreline.
An effort is underway to collect trash from Lake Tahoe's 72-mile shoreline.(Clean Up The Lake)

“Our team of professional and volunteer divers have been out as much as possible to keep our effort on track. To date, we’ve completed 27 dive days,” said Colin West, Clean Up The Lake founder and executive director. “Some of the trashiest spots we’ve cleaned so far include areas like Deadman’s Point full of boat wrecks broken into hundreds of pieces, parts of East Shore where people tend to frequent and the rocks near the shoreline collect aluminum cans, plastic bottles and other trash that gets stuck in the rocks for decades. We anticipate there will be so much more to learn about the way the trash is being distributed underneath the surface of Tahoe as we continue to make our way around the lake the rest of this year.”

Divers will continue the clean-up throughout the summer and fall, and expect to complete the effort in November 2021, weather and conditions permitting.

Led by the nonprofit Clean Up The Lake, the effort was made possible by a $100,000 matching donation from Tahoe Blue Vodka, contributions from more than 135 Tahoe Fund donors including Vail Resorts, and the Nevada Division of State Lands’ Lake Tahoe License Plate program and other local grant giving foundations.

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