Making a clean sweep

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 29, 2006

Cody Osborne dragged a large plastic bag up the bank at the Center Street Boat Landing and hoisted it into a pile with a few dozen other bags of debris.

It was not even 10 a.m. yet, but Osborne had worked up a sweat and more than a sizeable collection of rubbish.

What’s a nice boy like this doing wading in litter on a Saturday morning during his summer break?

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I like to help out,” he said. “I do this all the time. Plus, it looks good on a college application.”

The Ironton High School senior was one of a couple dozen people who volunteered in the annual Ohio River Sweep. Sponsored locally by The Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) and the Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste Management District, the annual event aims to clean litter from the banks of the Ohio River in time for the summer recreational season.

“I am pleased with the turnout,” said Dan Palmer, of the solid waste district. “This is great.”

Matthew Whit, teen class Sunday School teacher at Sheridan Freewill Baptist Church brought a group of young people from his church.

“Most of our kids have taken an interest in helping the community and want to be more involved,” he explained. “We baptize in the river so we thought maybe it would be nice to come down and help clean it up. We do enjoy getting out and doing things.”

Aaron Mudrak and Aaron Craft attend that church. By 9:30 they had filled a bag with litter they had picked up and was working on the second one. Their collection of bottles, soft drink cans and fast food wrappers were occasionally supplemented by an odd find or two.

“I found a dead fish this morning,” Craft said. “I picked it up with a stick. It smelled. I found this big piece of wood that had metal on it.”

In addition to the delegation at the Ironton riverfront, volunteered combed the riverbanks in South Point and at the Indian Guyan boat ramp in Chesapeake also. Palmer said an official count of bags and volunteers will be available early next week.

The local work is part of a regional effort to clean 3,000 miles of shoreline in a half a dozen states that border the waterway. It was begun nearly two decades ago.