• 68°

River Sweep set to cleanup Ohio June 18

Old cans, empty cereal boxes, plastic bags - no one likes the trash that piles up on our waterways, but this summer local residents will have a chance to take action.

On June 18, volunteers will line the shorelines of the Ohio, Allegheny, Monongahela, Beaver, Kanawha and Kentucky rivers to pick up trash as part of River Sweep 2005.

The sweep extends across more than 3,000 miles of shoreline that will be scoured for trash and debris. The effort involves six states, and is the largest environmental event of its kind.

"River Sweep is very important because for a few hours on one day volunteers can help make a difference in the appearance of this great natural resource," said Jeanne Ison, Project Director, in a written statement. "The Sweep has grown so much in the past few years, we've been able to expand the project to tributaries and feeder streams of the Ohio River."

According to Stephanie Nida, community outreach coordinator with the Lawrence-Scioto County Solid Waste Management District, clean-ups such as this are particularly beneficial in the Lawrence County area, where litter is such a pervasive issue.

"It's a big problem here, because litter is just everywhere you look," Nida said. "And that eventually makes its way to our waterways. With the flooding we had a couple months back, it seems like when the water gets up a lot of that gets together."

The clean up in Lawrence County will take place in three different locales: The Indian Guyan Boat Ramp, the Ironton Boat Ramp and the South Point Boat Ramp.

Those who participate in the sweep from 9 a.m. to Noon will receive a complimentary T-shirt and refreshments provided by local businesses.

Boat ramps are a logical choice, said Nida, because they're safer for little cleaners, and, by nature, litter hot spots.

"A lot of it does gather at the boat ramps," Nida said. "So that makes it a nice place for us to clean up. And we have a lot of Boy Scout and Girl Scout groups, middle-school-aged kids that we don't want them out where they could fall into the water."

High school or college students are also encouraged to consider the River Sweep to fulfill any community service requirements that they may have.

Of course, earth-friendly folks of any age may participate in the project. Those interested may contact Nida at (740) 532-1231 to volunteer or for more details.