Okanagan, Kal lakes are lot cleaner after lots of hard work

Lakes were full of garbage

A full ban on plastic bags can not come soon enough for Aaron Nasipayko.

The Vernon financial advisor spent last summer on a paddleboard cleaning up Kalamalka and Okanagan lakes and “by far” the most common garbage in either lake was plastic bags and plastic bottles.

“I literally had garbage bags full of them,” he said of the grocery bags.

Nasipayko paddled hundreds of kilometres and countless hours all to make the lakes we love a little cleaner.

“I don’t know how many total hours were involved in project, but I can tell you I’m glad to close the page on this chapter. I’m definitely tired and looking forward to seeing some friends that I haven’t seen in a long time and finally unpacking my gear,” Nasipayko said.

“Between Kalamalka lake and Okanagan Lake I have paddled over 412 km’s and 316 km’s of shoreline has been combed over. I know there is more out there but sometimes you can only do so much. I’ve personally logged just over 100 hours on the water alone excluding any preparation or travel.”

Nasipayko said a few kilometres either direction from the floating bridge in Kelowna had the highest concentration of shoreline garbage, but it also has the highest concentration of people and garbage was found from one end of both lakes to the other.

To complete the monumental task, Nasipayko was joined by a small army of volunteers.

“There has been over 150 volunteers that have contributed time towards this project, approximately 70 of which have been under the age of 10,” he said. "A genuine thank you to everyone who has stepped up to help. I specifically want to thank Coleen Dix for your support and the generosity of Telus for the new board. I could not have finished without it.”

Several regional districts and municipalities are looking into a complete ban on all single-use plastics.

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