A Yellowknife man is on a mission to retrieve 10,000 pounds of garbage from lakes in and around Yellowknife.
He’s already 4,000 pounds into that goal.

“…The goal is to get ten thousand pounds of garbage out of the waters,” Jeremy Macdonald says.
“We’re up to about 4,000 pounds so far… and that’s just this month. We did a dive Monday night at the old Con Mine dock and that pulled out 2,100 pounds alone.”

Picking garbage out of lakes may seem like a strange hobby, but Macdonald says it all started with a group of friends who like to go scuba diving.

Yellowknife has plenty of interesting places to go diving, but many of them have garbage in them, he says.

“We asked around and tried to find out some place to clean that stuff up, we were not successful finding somebody else to do it,” he says. “So we took it upon ourselves just to start picking up trash kinda as you would going through the park.”

What’s the strangest thing you’ve pulled out of a lake so far?

“Well we found a rifle and a shotgun on Monday night…the marijuana grinder was kind of an interesting one, the gold necklace was another fun one,” Macdonald says.

“You get the normal swimming gear so lots of fins, lots of masks, lots of snorkels. But then you start finding stuff like people’s shorts or bikini bottoms or bikini tops, and you know there’s probably a story behind those ones,” he says.

Macdonald says he hopes to raise awareness about dumping in lakes.

“One of the key messages for the community is where possible, not dump things into the lake,” he says. “More people should take an interest in cleaning up the waterways.”

On the Facebook page Shit I Found Diving In YK  they regularly post pictures and videos of their finds, as well as cleanup events.

“And we’re just trying to find different spots where there’s a lot of junk that can be pulled out kinda easily,” Macdonald says.  “We are finding that more and more volunteers show up.”

What started out last year as some friends going for dives around Yellowknife has grown into a community as more people take an interest.

Last year they did four dives, and this year they’re trying to do ten clean-up dives, he says.

“We’ve had 15 volunteers show up for one of our most recent dives,” says Macdonald.  “So we’ve started getting a community involved, more people involved, and that helps us get more stuff out.”

The next cleanup event is scheduled to take place at the Yellowknife River bridge next weekend.