By RYAN KING
PORT AUX BASQUES – Tuesday, June 8 was World Oceans Day, a day declared by the United Nations at the request of Canada to help promote awareness of the environmental dangers faced by our waterways. People are encouraged to take part through community action to help reverse some of the damage we have done to our oceans, and to protect them for future generations.
In this spirit, area volunteers gathered at the Port aux Basques harbor to clean up some of the illegally dumped garbage in the water. The Sea Lion Dive Club volunteered their help, with divers Scott Savory, Brad Gilliam, and Matt Sweet bringing up garbage from near the colourful fishing shacks lining the harbour front.
“The local club has been existing here for 30 plus years. Not a lot of interest in to it now, but there’s still a few people that like the activity and get out and enjoy the water,” said Savory.
Other volunteers assisted the divers, passing the collected seabed garbage onto the wharf. Among them were Ben Savory, Lloyd Savory, Jon Hardy, Richard LeRiche, Johnny Sheaves, and Owen LeRiche.
“It’s basically just some local divers and local volunteers who get together and try and help out the environment and clean some stuff up,” said Savory.
Nikita Roberts, representing the local Harbour Authority, was also on hand to help on the land and look after the finer details. She observed that there seemed to be a lower turnout of volunteers this year. Roberts noted that could be due to any number of factors, and it could be because of the pandemic, but the beautiful weather also likely played a part.
“There’s a lot less volunteers for a lot of stuff. Actually, with the Harbour Authority in general, we only got so many members on our board now because of lack of interest,” shared Roberts.
Illegal dumping is a problem on the Southwest coast, and the ocean is no exception. Among the trash gathered were several old tires, gloves, bottles, and beer cans. Most of these items were pulled from the same area of water where the divers cleaned up during the last World Oceans Day event that was held.
“I guess it was always neglected because it’s not something you ever thought about. When you toss it in the ocean it disappears, but it doesn’t disappear. It just settles on the bottom for years and years,” said Savory.
This clean up marks the third occasion that the volunteers have gathered, an effort organized by diver Scott Savory. The annual clean up began in 2018, however when the pandemic started the cleanup had to be put on hold in 2020. While the amount of garbage hauled up by the divers may look disheartening, Savory believes that it seems less than the previous years.
The divers took a break to have a barbecue on the docks before Savory and Sweet returned to the waters and more trips to the harbour floor. The Leading Edge Credit Union (LECU) also lent a hand by supplying the food for the hard-working divers, with Cory Munden manning the grill.
The Town also contributed by donating the use of one of the town trucks to come collect the garbage and take it to the waste transfer station for appropriate disposal.