Community works together to keep Ohio River clean

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 20, 2010

The shores of the Ohio River are looking cleaner thanks to volunteers who spent their Saturday picking up trash along its banks.

The 22nd annual Ohio River Sweep covered more than 3,000 miles from Pennsylvania to Illinois, with five clean-up locations in Lawrence County. There were 24 volunteers picking up trash at the Center Street boat landing in Ironton.

Steve Hileman, the enforcement officer for the Lawrence-Scioto County Solid Waste Management District, was appreciative to all who were involved.

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“The more volunteers the better,” Hileman said. “We can get more litter.”

Hileman expressed his gratitude to Lawrence County Juvenile Court Judge David Payne and the Lawrence County Juvenile Center for the participation of that organization as well as others who took their Saturday to help.

“We’d like to thank Mary for setting up the volunteer table and taking time and getting volunteers together,” Hileman said about Mary Rose, 58, of Deering. Rose has been volunteering in the Ohio River Sweep for the past 10 to 12 years.

“Some years this place is covered with trash and there’s a lot to clean up,” Rose said. “Some years, people act like they’re civilized and there’s not much.”

This year the volunteers at the Ironton location collected a total of 32 bags of trash.

“You never know what we’re going to find,” Rose said.

This year, volunteers picked up a rusted propane tank and empty boxes from commercial food.

“The most dangerous things we usually find are needles and broken glass,” Rose said. She said after a big flood, they once found a refrigerator, and sometimes they find radiators and tires.

This was Hileman’s second year participating in the event.

“I wish more people were on board to do the river sweep,” Hileman said. “There’s a lot of trash and the river carries it downstream and makes it look nasty. We’d like to see more people getting out for this yearly event.”

Lynn Cremeans, a Cub Scout troop leader from Pack 104 in Ironton, participated with her two sons, David and Daniel, and their cousin, Carl Large.

“I think it’s great,” Cremeans said. “We go around our neighborhood and pick up trash. I try to teach them to give to others and try to take care of where we live so that it doesn’t look like trash.”

David, 10, said he did it to keep the environment clean.

“In all, I think we got about 4 bags,” David said.