Fight­ing for a trash-free Bras D’or

Bad­deck Bar­na­cles Div­ing Club wel­comes pub­lic to clean up day

The Victoria Standard - - Environment - JENNIFER RIPLEY

The Bras D’or Lake is full of trash.

“It's amaz­ing what peo­ple dump off the wharf,” said Bad­deck Bar­na­cle Div­ing Club mem­ber Dan Chiasson.

Over the last six years, the Club has col­lected plas­tic bags, cans, cell phones, bi­cy­cles, chain saws, cam­eras, sun­glasses, bar­be­ques and wash­ing ma­chines from the lake while par­tic­i­pat­ing in In­ter­na­tional Coastal Cleanup Day (ICCD).

Ocean garbage is a global is­sue. Mem­bers of Bad­deck Bar­na­cles div­ing club un­der­stand this first hand.

"When you are div­ing over a pe­riod of 30 or 40 years, you see changes to the en­vi­ron­ment. For in­stance, do­ing a wreck off shore, 25 miles off the coast, and you're swim­ming into a sea of beer cans and dis­carded fish­ing equip­ment in the mid­dle of nowhere. Why is this place so trashed? It sparks a real con­cern for why peo­ple do that,” said Bar­na­cle Dan Mc­coart.

The Bras D’or Lake of­fers great shore div­ing and Mc­coart would like to keep it that way. It is also one of 16 des­ig­nated UNESCO Bio­sphere Re­serves in Canada.

"We want to keep (the lake) clean and pre­serve the en­vi­ron­ment for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

Bar­na­cle Don Gal­lop refers to club mem­bers as "am­bas­sadors of the ocean".

The Bar­na­cles formed in 2010 and are now the core div­ing club in Cape Bre­ton. Mem­bers share a com­mon and vested in­ter­est in the ecol­ogy, his­tory and en­vi­ron­ment of the Bras d'or Lake.

On Satur­day, Septem­ber 16, at 10 am, the Bar­na­cles wel­come the pub­lic to join them at the Bras d'or Yacht club for their 7th an­nual clean-up of the Bras d'or Lake as part of In­ter­na­tional Coastal Cleanup Day (ICCD). Those who would like to help from shore can walk along the wa­ter­front and col­lect garbage to be brought back to the wharf.

Vol­un­teers around the world col­lected over 18 mil­lion pounds dur­ing last year’s event.

Vic­to­ria County and the Vil­lage of Bad­deck sup­port the clean-up by re­mov­ing and sort­ing the hun­dreds of pounds of garbage col­lected. Tim Hor­tons pro­vides re­fresh­ments and the event is capped off with a BBQ meal for par­tic­i­pants. Res­i­dents are in­vited to join the Bar­na­cles at this year's event to ob­serve or par­tic­i­pate.

The Bar­na­cles want to fos­ter an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for aquatic en­vi­ron­ments, es­pe­cially the Bras d'or Lake. They plan to shoot short doc­u­men­tary films to high­light the unique dive sites and ma­rine en­vi­ron­ments in the area.

Bar­na­cle meet­ings are held Wed­nes­days at 6 pm at the Yacht Club and new mem­bers are al­ways wel­come. No div­ing ex­pe­ri­ence re­quired. Any­one in­ter­ested in div­ing in­struc­tion is en­cour­aged to con­tact the Dive Cor­ner in North Sydney.

Cour­tesy of Ocean Con­ser­vancy.

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