Volunteers recover old wagon and pollution from Seneca Lake


WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (WETM) – In 30-degree weather locals are suiting up in their scuba diving gear to keep Seneca Lake clean.

The organizer of Finger Lakes Clean Up Above and Below, Bobby Kurz, said not only are volunteers cleaning the lake, but many will also be out cleaning highways. This is their second year doing this cleanup event.

“We called it finger lakes clean up above and below because we’re doing it underwater and there are groups going out to clean up the roads,” said Kurz. “I contacted the new york state department of transportation and they sent out our information to all the Adopt a Highway groups. So don’t be surprised if you see a lot of people out on the highways today.”

Kurz said most people might see Seneca’s beauty from the surface. However underwater, pollution is evident. This year, the team found an old wagon during their expedition.

“Whenever you’re under the water you always see garbage down there and it’s a shame it’s out of sight, out of mind but not for us divers and we’re not down there with our bags I got mesh bags today,” said Kurz. “So you always want to come back and clean up.”

Even the Mayor of Watkins Glen, Luke Leszyk, paid a visit to the volunteering event that continued for a second year despite the pandemic.

“We never give up on anything and it’s great and I mean there’s no better social distancing than being under the water in scuba gear, away from everybody else so this is a wonderful event and, and the pandemic shouldn’t slow down people from going out and volunteering and cleaning up around their community,” said Leszyk.

“We figured we’d do it again this year,” said Kurz. “And why not do it on national cleanup day we’ll do it the third Saturday of September. You know, we live in a beautiful region. And we all prosper by a nice clean Finger Lake. So why not do this, and we got to start somewhere.”

Pictures from last year’s cleanup:


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