Scuba Divers Recover 12 Tons of Trash From Lake Tahoe Including Engagement Rings and Wallets

By Clean Up The Lake

A scuba dive team has completed an extraordinary clean-up of Lake Tahoe after a full year of work, pulling up more than 12 tons of submerged trash.

Organized by the nonprofit Clean Up The Lake, the team restored every inch of 72 miles of the crystal blue lake’s shoreline and sub-shore, collecting 24,797 pieces of litter weighing a total of 25,281 pounds.

As divers circumnavigated the lake, they recovered not just typical plastic and glass litter, but lost wallets and engagement rings, too.

“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,” said Colin West, founder and executive director of Clean Up The Lake.

“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, and in turn people should ask themselves how they are choosing to contribute to preserving our environment today.”

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The project was made possible by a $100,000 matching donation from Tahoe Blue Vodka, The Tahoe Fund, and Nevada’s Lake Tahoe License Plate program, among others.

Clean Up The Lake

“I still can’t quite grasp what our team has accomplished,” said West. “Completing this 72-mile clean-up is a testament to what our team is capable of, and we are just getting started.”

The divers also found vintage Nikon film cameras, lamp posts, massive pieces of broken down boats and engine blocks, and cordless telephones.

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Clean Up The Lake announced that they will be performing clean-ups across three other different lakes this year—Donner Lake, Fallen Leaf Lake in the Tahoe basin, and a clean-up of June Lake.

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These 2022 projects require additional funding–and you can donate at

The Tahoe Fund also announced it has commissioned artists to create a sculpture using some of the recovered items from the Lake.

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