Scuba divers clean High Tatra lakes

AT THE END of tourist season, the mountain lakes in High Tatras are usually cleaned by scuba divers. The 22nd year of the Clean Waters event, taking place as part of the International Film Festival of Divers (MFPF) in the High Tatras on October 23, helped clean 73 kilograms of waste from three lakes.

Cleaning the Popradské pleso lake in High TatrasCleaning the Popradské pleso lake in High Tatras (Source: TASR)

This activity was part of the yearlong care provided by the State Forests of the Tatra National Park (TANAP) for the territory of the Slovak Tatra mountains. In October, 38 volunteer scuba divers cleaned the lakes Velické pleso (four divers brought 31 kilograms of mostly iron scrap), relatively clean Popradské pleso (19 divers, 25 kilograms of household waste) and the cleanest Nové (New) Štrbské pleso (eight divers, 17 kilograms of waste).

“Most of the litter is composed of coins, plastic cups, plastic and glass bottles, or cutlery pieces,” Pavol Kráľ, coordinator of the Clean Waters from the TANAP State Forests told the SITA newswire. “But there was also a big plastic dustbin, a jacket for runners, and an odometer for bicycles.”

The Clean Waters event was organised this time in cooperation with the Slovak Diving School of Technical Diving, Diving Club Vodnár (Waterman), Polish Diving club Kraken of Krakow, and the Košice Šaca hospital. Apart from the lakes, the manmade mining pond on the Račkový potok brook was also cleaned (with 140 kg of waste), as was one lake of the Batizovské štrkoviská gravel pits – where no waste was found.

In 22 years of existence, Clean Waters has had divers dive 1,457 times in the High Tatra lakes and has retrieved 5,200 kilograms of litter: the most, 506 kg in 2004; and the least, 45.35 kg, in 2013. Last year, 35 volunteers gathered 186 kilograms of waste from the banks of lakes. In the past, a huge percentage of the fished items were construction waste, while in recent years, food wrappings prevail.

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