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Sunday, 21 December 2014

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Divers unite for Windermere clean-up

AN abandoned toilet and an old fashioned cine camera were just some of the finds when hundreds of scuba divers came to Windermere for one of the world’s largest underwater litter-picks.

The massive exercise, initiated by explorer, TV presenter and Sub-Aqua Club member Paul Rose, was held on Saturday and saw around seven tons of accumulated debris removed from the Lake District beauty spot.

Scuba divers – some from as far away as South America – had to contend with water temperatures not far above zero and low visibility caused by heavy silting of the lake.

Mr Rose proclaimed it a “superb” example of hundreds of divers working together to highlight the huge amount of rubbish being dumped in seas around the globe.

Helping to co-ordinate the event, which involved 262 scuba divers, was Paul Fry, dive officer for the Kendal & Lakes branch of BSAC who said: “It was definitely the biggest operation of its kind in Lake Windermere and probably one of the largest ever freshwater dives globally.

“We had people coming from BSAC clubs across the country, and from countries like Poland, Sweden and Argentina.

“We also had 20 members of my own Kendal & Lakes club involved, both diving and helping with the organisation.

“All 262 took part in the first dive of the day, going in simultaneously, and some of them also took part in the second dive, which saw 150 going in.

“We were diving in six different sites in the lake – from near the Old England Hotel, the Royal Windermere Yacht Club and a three-quarter-mile section from The Glebe to the Windermere Marina Village.

“It was a mix of diving in open water and around the boat moorings, where people litter.

“The water temperature was just 4C, which is about as cold as Windermere gets.”

Paul Rose said: “About seven tons of junk were removed including a fully working toilet, complete with cistern and ballcock, and a motor for a boat.

“As people have been dumping stuff in the lake for many years we also found glass bottles dating back to the 1800s and a cine camera, possibly from the 1940s or 1950s, with film, which I’m afraid appears to be stuck inside it.

“There were also 73 car tyres, at least four car batteries and tin cans, plastic and glass.

“Some of this will be used by local schoolchildren as part of an art project to make sculptures from recovered rubbish.

“The pieces of art will then be auctioned off to raise money for ocean issue-based charities.”

Mary Tetley, BSAC Chief Executive, said: “The work achieved at the underwater litter pick raises awareness about the way in which we are spoiling our seas and waterways.”

Have your say

I wonder if they caught sight of one of the Sunderland flying boats which are rumoured to be in Windermere.

Posted by MartinS on 6 March 2013 at 18:05

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