At the Yellowknife government docks Aug. 3, two divers and a group of volunteers pulls 924 pounds of junk out of Great Slave Lake.
Since the start of the summer, Jeremy MacDonald and the group of volunteers started banded together with smaller cleanups to help reach the goal to clean out 100,000 pounds of trash in 10 years.
MacDonald said for him to achieve his 10-year goal is to start with a smaller goal, by pulling 10,000 pounds out of the lake by the end of the summer.
There were two divers and a team of people on the docks to sort out the junk and warn about passing boats. It took the team about two hours to find all the junk.
One of the volunteers on the dock was Henri Brown.
“We take the garbage from the divers, sort it, bag it, and put it in the truck.” She provided water and snacks as well. Brown’s husband used a boat to mark off safety zones for the divers.
Brown said she has been helping MacDonald clean up the lake since 2017. MacDonald and Brown met at a yard sale when he was showing off things that he found in the lake.
Back in 2017, MacDonald and his diving crew and volunteers started cleaning up in Cameron River.
“We were so horrified by the amount of garbage that was is in the water,” Brown said. “The worst offender is the tires because they leach toxic chemicals.”
She was so happy to be back with the cleanup crew, as the Tuesday cleanup was her first clean up of the season.
“The team of volunteers are not always the same, different people are available at different time but we are united by the same goal and everybody works hard,” said Brown.
Brown said she wants to help clean up the water for the kids.
In 2018, they surpassed the season goal and pulled 10,754 pounds of junk. They picked up trash at Yellowknife River Bridge, Tartan Rapids, Reid Lake, Cameron River, Con Mine Dock, Long Lake, the government dock and Back Bay.
Since they started the clean-up, the team has pulled approximately 30,000 to 40,000 pounds of junk out of the Great Slave Lake, which includes cars, vans, and snowmachines.
“It’s my happy place,” MacDonald said. “Trash in my happy place makes me sad, so we clean it up.”