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Ohio River Sweep set for next Saturday

The Ohio River Sweep, the annual cleanup for the Ohio River and its tributaries, is set to take place Saturday, June 16 and encompasses more than 3,000 miles of shoreline from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Cairo, Illinois.

The event has taken place for the past 28 years, and improvements that have been made in the water quality have resulted in an increase in recreation, causing more litter on the riverbanks.

Locally, the Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste Management District’s Litter and Recycling Program will sponsor four cleanup locations in Lawrence County, including the Ironton boat ramp, Coal Grove boat ramp, South Point boat ramp and the Symmes Creek boat ramp in Chesapeake.

“We’ve been doing this event since I’ve been with the district in 2005, and solid waste has probably been doing it before that even,” Stephanie Helms, of the solid waste district and organizer of the event, said. “We usually get around 12-15 people at each location, so about 60 total each year.”

The event will begin at 9 a.m., and each volunteer will receive a free Ohio River Sweep T-shirt, as well as gloves, garbage bags and refreshments provided by the solid waste district.

Safety tips for participating in the river sweep include watching where you walk and avoiding broken glass, needles, rusty nails and poison ivy. In addition, it is advised not to put yourself into dangerous positions, such as trying to collect trash that is floating in the river.

Wear old, comfortable clothing and shoes that you wouldn’t mind getting dirty. It is also advised to wear gloves to protect your hands at all times, which will be provided, and to avoid areas with an overgrowth of weeds/vegetation.

All volunteers will also be required to sign a waiver before the litter pick up begins.

For more information or to register your group, contact Helms at the Lawrence-Scioto Solid Waste Management District office, 101 N. Third St., Ironton, or call 740-532-1231 during business hours, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.