Lakes full of garbage

Aaron Nasipayko likes a challenge.

Last year, the Vernon man paddled the length of Okanagan Lake on a stand up paddleboard.

Nasipayko said the 18-hour journey broke through a lot of mental barriers for him and he began to look for his next challenge.

He looked no farther than Kalamalka Lake.

So far this year, Nasipayko has paddled 56 per cent of the nearly 42.5 kilometre-long shoreline and collected several bags of garbage and hundreds of plastic bottles.

“In a few locations, it's been shocking,” he said of the amount of plastics he has found. “It's there, you just have to look for it and make a point to pick it up.”

Nasipayko said the garbage is not always visible, but there is a lot of it out there.

“I think it is really important to have an intention, and have an objective behind what you are doing,” he said. “So I decided I would paddle the perimeter of Kal Lake and pick up all the garbage.”

So far, he has done the harder places to reach and he is hoping the clean up will now go faster.

Knowing his task on Kal Lake is nearing completion, Nasipayko headed out on Okanagan Lake and found the larger lake to be much more polluted than Kal.

“I did the first one per cent last weekend, 2.7 km and I found more garbage than I found on Kal,” said Nasipayko, who made a commitment to students at Hillview Elementary School that he would continue to clean the lake.

The shoreline of Okanagan Lake is some 270 km and Nasipayko figures it could take him up to three years to cover the entire area, so he is asking other water users to join in the clean-up effort.

Nasipayko has issued the Okanagan 1% Challenge.

“I am challenging Okanagan residents to do their one per cent, so collectively we can achieve 100 per cent of clean shorelines on Okanagan Lake,” he said.

People will post the area they have cleaned up and many are already reaching out to help clean the lake.

“It really is alarming what is out there,” he said. The most common items he is finding is cans, bottles and plastic bags, lots of plastic bags.

More information on the challenge can be found on Nasipayko's Facebook page.

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