It is a shame that only one day a year is set aside for cleaning up one of the area's great natural resources.
The annual River Sweep is set for Saturday morning at the Steubenville and Mingo Junction marinas.
River Sweep is a riverbank cleanup that extends the length of the Ohio River and beyond, according to the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, which has organized the event for more than two decades. More than 3,000 miles of shoreline will be combed for trash and debris. It is the largest environmental event of its kind and encompasses six states.
ORSANCO reported last year's event brought out more than 20,000 volunteers, and more than 20,000 tons of trash and debris were collected.
About 65 volunteers locally helped with River Sweep last year, picking up debris and litter.
Some of the debris is deposited next to the river. Some of it is intentionally left by people who don't care about damaging our natural resources.
The Ohio River has come a long way from the days when steel mills lined both sides of the river. The pollution left by those mills scared the river for decades, but the Ohio River now is a major source of pleasure fishing, boating and biking and walking along trails that follow the river downstream.
Litter is picked up along the side of highways numerous times a year by organizations and volunteers, but the Ohio River only gets one organized cleanup a year.
Registration will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Steubenville and Mingo Junction marinas, with work beginning around 9:30 a.m. Girl Scout Troop 4642 will be providing volunteers at the Mingo Junction Marina.
On the West Virginia side, locations include Swaney's Landing, Kennedy Marina, Edgewater Park, Harmon Creek in Weirton and the Wellsburg Wharf.
River Sweep only takes a couple hours of volunteering to help make the banks of the Ohio River look good.
Many more people are using the Ohio River for recreation now, and litter comes with increased activity.
Picking up litter along the banks of the Ohio River doesn't just have to happen one day a year. Take a trash bag with you whenever you visit the river and pick up a couple handfuls of trash.
River Sweep is a great way to beautify our section of the Ohio River. Join the thousands of others who will collect trash along their areas of the river.
Take a couple hours to volunteer for this cause on Saturday and throughout the year.