Volunteer divers clean up the world’s largest freshwater lake

The Baikal Lake in Russia’s Irkutsk region looks calm and undisturbed. But there’s plenty of activity bubbling beneath the surface.

Twenty-two volunteers are helping clear trash from the bottom of the lake. It’s part of an ecological marathon called 360 Minutes.

The volunteers are divers who go to the bottom of the lake. There, they collect garbage and set up signs saying “Do not litter.”

The divers went out up to 25 miles into the lake and spent about an hour there. Other than the usual bottles and cans, they occasionally find some odd items.

“We dived to a depth of 30 meters [98 feet] (and found) mainly glass bottles, beer cans and boots somehow, heels, no heels, things like that,” said diver Anna Sharatskikh.

Up to 1 million tourists visit Lake Baikal every year. People often leave behind litter.

The divers dragged out bags of rubbish they discovered in the lake. Everything they’ve found will be recycled.

The initiative 360 Minutes started in March 2017. It will run across the country in various conservation areas and parks.

The marathon is a part of a year of ecology. It also marks the 100th anniversary of the conservation system in Russia.

This event is also preparation for an underwater photography championship on Baikal Lake on June 21-25.

Baikal is the largest freshwater lake by volume in the world. It contains about 20 percent of the world’s unfrozen freshwater.

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