Old Ladies Against Underwater Litter Clean Up One Pond at a Time


By Jacob Wycoff

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FALMOUTH, Mass. (WBZ) – We’ve all seen it. You are in the middle of a beautiful place in nature and you see a waste.

Dr Susan Baur, an avid 81-year-old swimmer, decided she had seen enough trash at the bottom of Cape Cod ponds, so she wanted to do something.

About four years ago, she formed a group affectionately called “Old Ladies Against Underwater Garbage”, or “OLAUG” for short. They have since been removing waste from some of Cape Town’s 996 freshwater ponds.

“It’s kind of a scavenger hunt for things that aren’t meant to be there,” Baur told WBZ-TV.

She and her group pulled out all kinds of things from the ponds, from golf balls and dog toys to beer cans and Gatorade bottles.

The strangest thing she’s ever found? A garden gnome!

“Treasure on earth ceases to be treasure when it is underwater,” said Baur.

There are a few requirements to consider when joining “OLAUG”. First of all, you must be over 64 years old. Second, you must be a competent swimmer and able to pass a test administered by Baur.

Even though the water temperature was 55 degrees Fahrenheit cold, that didn’t stop me from joining “OLAUG” on their last dive of the season in Falmouth earlier this month. In a normal year, the group begins diving for litter in May and will end in early October. But the record summer-to-fall heat kept them underwater for a few more weeks this year.

Every garbage we found that day was dumped onto a kayak, which was on the water for the afternoon.

For anyone who thinks that getting old means feeling old, Baur and the rest of the group prove that it’s just, well, hogwash.

“One of our secret weapons is that we don’t care about how we look. We’re locked in black stuff, we can drag stuff out of the pond. We have passed the stage where vanity [matters]”said Baur.

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