A family of commercial divers has removed an amazing array of trash from Morro Bay — and they are just getting started.
Eric Miramon and his two stepsons, Robert and Jared Pelz, finished removing 2,000 to 3,000 pounds of junk Tuesday from a small area of Morro Bay near the boat launch ramp.
“It’s just real ugly down there,” Miramon said. “Some of the stuff we pull up is just incredible — just about everything you can think of.”
Most of the debris is related to boating and commercial fishing. This includes 30 tires of all types, as well as lots of rope, cable, chain, fishing nets and fish traps. The tires are probably old boat dock bumpers that came loose and fell into the water.
But the haul also included some truly bizarre items such as a bowling ball, two toilets, four car batteries, six or seven cellphones and a laptop computer. Lots of everyday trash — such as broken bottles and coffee mugs — was also recovered.
“Most of it was covered up (with silt),” Miramon said. “It needs to be taken out of there.”
Making the haul even more amazing is the fact that it was recovered from a small area that Miramon estimates to be 20 by 50 feet. He thinks that it took decades for that much trash to accumulate.
The family runs a dive business in Morro Bay called California Environmental Dive Service. They decided to undertake the cleanup as a public service after noticing how much trash had accumulated.
They plan to move on to other parts of the bay and eventually clean up the whole harbor. “We are doing it because we would like to have a place to dive for our grandchildren,” Miramon said.
The Morro Bay Harbor Department loaned them a barge on which to store the trash, and the family has been filling it up for the past month. On Tuesday, the barge was hauled to the South T Pier, where it was unloaded.
The tires will be recycled by Morro Bay Tire & Auto, and the rest will go into the department’s trash bin. Harbor officials were surprised by the volume of trash.
“We didn’t realize how much is down there,” said Becka Kelly, harbor patrol supervisor. “The divers have been telling us, ‘Wow, there’s a lot to be concerned about.’ ”
An annual cleanup is held at either the North or South T Pier, but the rest of the harbor does not get cleaned up, Kelly said. The areas where boats are moored are likely to have the most trash.