Volunteers cleanup Sylvan Lake’s water and shoreline

Underwater and on the ground volunteers cleaned up after another summer season at Sylvan Lake.

Cleanup - Among the youngsters scouring Sylvan Lake Provincial Park and picking up garbage as part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup Sunday were Brownies Alison MacNeill

Cleanup - Among the youngsters scouring Sylvan Lake Provincial Park and picking up garbage as part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup Sunday were Brownies Alison MacNeill

Underwater and on the ground volunteers cleaned up after another summer season at Sylvan Lake.

Over 85 youth and adults from Sylvan Lake Guiding and Red Deer 18th Scouts scoured the shoreline as part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup Sunday morning.

They were joined by 26 divers, eight paddlers in kayaks and canoes and over 21 shore support people for the 10th annual Sylvan Lake Underwater Cleanup organized by Alberta Underwater Council.

Bruce Schollie, coordinator of the shoreline cleanup reported roughly 150 pounds of trash were collected through the efforts of Guides and Scouts. This is the eighth year they’ve coordinated the event.

Since their efforts were part of the Canada-wide event, a record was kept of everything picked up by the youngsters for compilation with figures from other areas of the country.

Most prevalent, as usual, were cigarette butts at 4,832. Plastic pieces of trash accounted for 434 items, there were 186 straws or stirrers collected, 181 plastic bottle caps and 159 food wrappers.

Under the personal hygiene category, three condoms, two diapers and two tampons or tampon applicators were collected.

Cups and plates tallied 88, there were 81 plastic grocery bags and 45 other plastic bags gathered.

Thirty toys were picked up, balloons accounted for 52 items, cigar tips 57 items, cigarette lighters eight, 24 items of clothing or shoes and 74 fireworks plus many other items, according to Schollie’s form.

Cathie McCuaig, executive director of Alberta Underwater Council reported their divers came from Airdrie, Bowden, Calgary, Edmonton, Leduc, Red Deer and Sylvan Lake. The paddlers included four from the local area, including Mayor Susan Samson who’s been a regular volunteer for the past several years.

“From the start in 2003 with just 12 divers, no paddlers or canoeists and only two shore support volunteers plus town staff who fed the cold, wet and hungry divers to a high in 2006 and 2008 of over 140 with the welcome inclusion of local Boy Scout troops, Girl Guides, Beavers, their leaders and parents to additionally cleanup Sylvan’s shoreline and park areas with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, it’s estimated over 18 tonnes of garbage has been removed,” she said.

“It’s not out of sight, out of mind to an Alberta scuba diver who while underwater constantly sees the trash as a reminder of the impact of irresponsible human activities on our underwater environment and the wildlife that lives there.”