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May 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 45, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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How This Diverís Coastal Cleanup Plan Has Turned Him into a Hero

from the May, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Canadian diver Shawn Bath is fed up with the coves and harbors of his home, the Twillingate Islands off Newfoundland's northeastern shore, being used as dumpsites. So he has taken it upon himself to start cleaning them up, and he has taken a year off work to do it.

"Everywhere I've dove has been pretty much the same thing -- garbage, tires, rubber boots, rubber coats," he told CBC News.

And that's what Bath, a 21-year commercial diver, recovers from the depths. He had been waiting for years for someone else to take on the clean-up effort, but realized he'd better do it himself before he gets too old. In the 10 months since he started, Bath has pulled up more than 1,000 car tires. He also formed a non-profit group called Clean Harbours Initiative (

His work has not gone unnoticed -- Clean Harbours has had donations from the U.S. and Australia - but Bath is especially buoyed by the local support. Local mayor Philip Wood got his town of Bay Roberts to chip in $500, and the Lion's Club wrote a check for $859 so Bath could replace the zippers in his drysuit.

"There is an awakening happening all over the world," Bath says. "People like myself are starting to clean up the oceans, and starting to raise money for that purpose."

His next goals: acquire a boat, a trailer and a team of at least three divers to travel to harbors all over Newfoundland and Labrador.

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