Help keep the river clean

For 25 years, volunteers have gathered on the banks of the Ohio River and its tributaries on a Saturday morning in June to pick up debris and trash.

It is the largest environmental event of its kind and encompasses six states and more than 3,000 miles of shoreline from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Ill., according to the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, which organized the event from day one.

Volunteers in Brooke, Hancock and Jefferson counties will put on gloves and work to clean up the area’s best natural treasure.

There was a time when the Ohio River was more like a sewer. Heavy industry lined the banks on both sides. Communities dumped sewage into the river.

It took years, but the Ohio River has come back to the point where many people go to enjoy a day on the boat, go fishing from the bank or just enjoy its natural beauty and wildlife.

Increased use of the river also has led to more trash and debris. High water also leaves behind a mess on the banks. But there is no reason to let that trash and debris linger.

Volunteering for River Sweep is a good family activity. It also can be a project for church youth groups or boys and girls participating in scouting.

We all have to play a part in keeping the river clean. Many communities rely upon its water for drinking supplies.

Registration will begin around 9 a.m. Saturday at the Wellsburg Wharf for Brooke County, Steubenville Marina for Jefferson County and Swanee’s Landing in New Cumberland for Hancock County.

Volunteers will be given trash bags and gloves and, afterward, will receive a commemorative T-shirt noting the 25th anniversary of River Sweep.

Volunteers pick up litter along highways numerous times a year but the Ohio River only gets one organized cleanup a year.

River Sweep is a great way to beautify our section of the Ohio River. Join the thousands of others who will collect trash in their area of the river. Take a couple hours Saturday morning to volunteer for this cause.