Return-It Blog

‘Diving In: The Art of Cleaning Lakes and Oceans’ launches in the Lower Mainland

We know that 71 per cent of the Earth’s surface is ocean, meaning that the majority of our planet isn’t seen by most people – so, who is keeping it clean? This World Cleanup Day, the Sea to Sky Arts Council Alliance has partnered with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans, Return-It and local environmental partners to launch the Lower Mainland’s first-ever travelling environmental art campaign, Diving In: The Art of Cleaning Lakes and Oceans.

“Our mission is to clean up the lakes and oceans in the Lower Mainland and to work with local artists to turn the objects into beautiful pieces of art – giving the waste a second life,” .said Amy Liebenberg, Project Manager, Diving In: The Art of Cleaning Lakes and Oceans “We hope that the artwork made through this project educates and gives us all an impactful reminder about the importance of recycling responsibly and reducing waste.”

The inaugural clean-up event occurred on September 18th, on World Cleanup Day. For the next several months, artists, environmentalists, and divers will be volunteering hundreds of hours to remove trash from local waters.

"The climate emergency is upon us. We need to change our collective behaviours so that we are reducing emissions and ensuring unwanted material is no longer polluting our waters in North Vancouver and beyond,” said the Honourable Bowinn Ma, B.C. Minister of State for Infrastructure and MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale. “I applaud the Sea to Sky Arts Council Alliance, Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans, Return-It, and all the other partners and volunteers who have brought this solution-oriented, creative environmental art campaign to life.”

Diving In has partnered with Return-It, an organization that recycles more than 1 billion beverage containers each year. Return-It shares the goal of educating communities on the importance of responsible recycling and diverting material from our oceans, lakes and waterways.

“In B.C., we are fortunate to have many ways to properly recycle and there is no reason for material to end up in our ocean and waterways,” said Allen Langdon, President and CEO of Return-It. “We are very excited about this partnership with Diving In, which supports our social purpose of fostering a world where nothing is waste and creating a better future for people, communities and the planet. Programs like Diving In are part of the solution.”

The artwork created from reimagined trash will tour galleries all the way from North Vancouver to Pemberton. The art pieces will serve not only as a creative way to upcycle trash that would have otherwise been left in our waters, but also be used as a form of communication. The hope is that the art will reach British Columbians through storytelling – creating awareness and ultimately, changing consumer behaviour to responsibly manage their waste.

“Our waterways are precious, and every pollutant that goes into our water has the potential to cause problems,” said Henry Wang, Founder of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans. “Since 2013, we have completed over 150 cleanup dives, removing nearly 40,000 pounds of trash from our oceans and lakes.”

If you would like to join us at a cleanup, visit an art show, or find out how you can support Diving In: The Art of Cleaning Lakes and Oceans, check out @DivingInBC on Instagram or Facebook, or visit

An overview of the Diving In campaign can be found here.

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