Volunteers are needed for River Sweep 2008, scheduled for June 21 along the Ohio, Allegheny, Monongahela, Beaver, Kanawha and Kentucky rivers.
Since 1989, the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, along with environmental protection and natural resource agencies from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, has organized the annual River Sweep cleanup effort.
The largest environmental event of its kind, the River Sweep is a riverbank cleanup of the Ohio River and its tributaries that encompasses the entire length of the river from its origin in Pittsburgh to its end in Cairo, Ill., including 3,000 miles of shoreline and many tributaries. According to ORSANCO, the purpose of the event is to draw attention to the existing litter problem and take steps to rectify the situation by removing the litter through a community volunteer effort; to foster an attitude of wise stewardship practices toward natural resources; and to enhance the quality and wildlife potential in the state.
“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. “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.”
In 2006, more than 20,000 volunteers from public organizations, civic groups, recreational clubs and the general public in six states bordering the river came together to collect more than 11,000 tons of trash and other debris from the banks of the Ohio River.
ORSANCO, in partnership with various industries throughout the Ohio River Valley, sponsors the Ohio River Sweep. Other sponsoring agencies are the West Virginia Make It Shine program, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio EPA, Illinois EPA, Kentucky Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet and Kentucky River Authority. ORSANCO is the water pollution control agency for the Ohio River and its tributaries.
Those wanting to volunteer for this event are urged to call their local representatives. Residents of Tyler County should call Bud Weigle at (304) 758-2437, while Wetzel County volunteers can call Jody Lamm at (304) 455-9130. Additional coordinators for local counties will be listed on ORSANCO’s Web site at a later date.