MORRISBURG – Visitors at the Morrisburg waterfront on Saturday afternoon, July 6, had the opportunity to see several divers emerging from the St. Lawrence just east of the dock, hauling ashore everything from oil drums to cast off plastic.
Members of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors were volunteering their time this weekend to take part in a Project Dive Against Debris event to “help clean our waters,” according to Charles Dupont, one of the hosts and organizers.
More than 36 divers and five ground support from all over Ontario and Quebec, in full gear, were diving in the St. Lawrence from Prescott to Morrisburg, cleaning up the garbage and debris which have found their way into our river either accidentally or through human negligence.
The participants came from 10 different centres or dive clubs.
During the Dive Against Debris, divers hauled ashore everything from barrels and oil drums to old tires, tin cans, golf balls and baseballs, mattress springs, many types of metal objects and lots of plastic products.
Greg Weiss, with 22 years experience as a diver, was among the crew working in Morrisburg, and pointed out that the area between Prescott and Morrisburg is very popular with divers from as far away as Montreal.
“In the Morrisburg area, they can focus on the remains of the old lock system.
Divers can even trace old highway 2 underwater. Around Prescott, divers can see actual shipwrecks still on the bottom. So it’s important to keep the river clean.”
According to Charles Dupont, the divers, in about an hour, pulled 883 pounds of debris out of the river in the area of the Morrisburg lock 23.
He described the efforts of the divers who volunteered their time and expertise and did some “heavy lifting” as “awesome.”
Weiss mentioned that the close-knit diving community is still saddened by the loss, June 11, of veteran diver and fellow diving instructor Thomas Andrew Phillips, off Macdonell Island about 13 kilometers up river from Morrisburg.