Paul Rose, who will lead the mass dive

Paul Rose, who will lead the mass dive

A clean-up of a Cumbrian lake could is set to break a world record for the number of divers involved.

The Friends of the Lake District’s planned litter pick from Windermere is expected to attract 300 divers from across the country.

That would make it the biggest freshwater dive in the world.

A team of shore-based volunteers helping sort out the litter collected is expected to boost numbers to more than 500.

The divers will be taking to the water at Bowness, led by Friends of the Lake District’s patron, explorer, diver and broadcaster Paul Rose on Saturday 2 March.

Teams of volunteers will make a series of dives from the Royal Windermere Yacht Club to Ferry Nab, through the day and will make a night dive after 7pm, in the area under the ferry jetties when the boats have stopped for the day, to collect debris from the lake bottom that has accumulated over many years.

Volunteers organised by conservation charity Friends of the Lake District will collect and sort the litter, some of which will be transformed into sculptures by groups of school children from Langdale and Hawkshead Primary Schools, the Lakes School, and John Ruskin School.

Paul Rose said: ‘The amount of debris entering our seas is so vast that it’s practically immeasurable.

“And as our oceans are the largest, least understood and least protected ecosystem on the planet, it can be difficult to grasp the problem.

“Windermere is my home town and we’re incredibly proud of this lake, yet no one knows what we’re putting there.

“By debris-diving inland lakes like Windermere, and then producing art from the rubbish we hope to surprise and engage people in the ocean debris issue. 80 per cent of all litter entering the oceans comes from fresh water rivers anyway.”

Organisations taking part include the Friends of the Lake District, Impact International, Kendal and Lakes Sub-Aqua Club, the Lake District national park, and the National Trust.

Judith Moore of Friends of the Lake District said: “Windermere is beautiful place, but rubbish is a hidden problem.

“We all need to be looking after our environment better. Many things go into the water that shouldn’t, including silt from erosion, fertilisers from farming, and phosphates from detergents in the water, as well as all the litter.

“This is our second debris dive, but on a much larger scale. In October a team of 12 divers pulled a tonne of rubbish from Waterhead as part of our volunteer Fell Care Day event.

“Imagine how much rubbish 300 divers might pull out.”

The rubbish will be made into art work at Merz Barn, and displayed at Wray Castle in June. The works then be auctioned off to raise money for Friends of the Lake District’s conservation work.

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