By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: June 4, 2014
The lakes of B.C. never disappoint Henry Wang. Every time he dives into one, he hopes it will offer a surprise, but garbage trumps that hope every time.
“I keep thinking, I want to find a lake that has no garbage in it,” he said.
On April 17, Edith Lake had no surprises to offer when Wang and his volunteer divers plunged into its darkness.
Two hours later, they emerged with the toxic smorgasbord of beer cans, lawn chairs and plastic toys, even parts of a patio.
In fact, beer cans and other alcohol containers is what the watery abyss offers the most to its explorers, although the volunteer divers from Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Ocean have also found oil barrels leaching chemicals into the water.
In Squamish, the divers have helped clean Edith, Alice, and Cat and Brohm Lakes in the past few months.
Collectively, these local lakes have yielded close to 1300 pounds of garbage, which the divers will try to recycle as much as they can.
In the future, these divers also plan to scour the depths of Murrin Lake and revisit Cat and Brohm Lake again for cleanup operations.
Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans are a group of volunteers who have made it their mission to clean the lakes and shorelines of this province.
Led by Wong, the volunteers have cleaned up 10 lakes in the Lower Mainland, including Britannia Beach, Rice Lake, and Deep Cover in North Vancouver.
They started on this mission in last November, when Wang and another friend, Jonathan Martin dove into Buntzen Lake in Port Moody out of curiosity to find out what lies beneath.
What began with curiosity ended with environmental stewardship: The divers ended up hauling 850 pounds of garbage from Buntzen Lake alone.
The terrifying magnitude shocked them but also strengthened their resolve to clean other resolved.
“It was quite shocking and so we began a grassroots effort to remove all the garbage from the lakes,” he said.
The divers are a small group of 20 people and volunteer their time and money for the cleanup efforts. They try to recycle some of the garbage in efforts to raise money for their cleanup efforts.
Besides a core team of Degan Walters, Jonathan Martin, John Webb, Henry Wang, there are 20 other volunteer divers that help with cleanup efforts.
The group wants to raise awareness of pollution in our lakes so people, particularly revelers, can pack and clean as they leave the lakes.
On April 17, they found an oil tank in the Edith Lake, which flows into Alice Lake, a favourite stomping ground for families.
The group is raising money for buy more cleaning supplied and a trailer. You can donate at https://www.youcaring.com/cleanlakes.