Keep our rivers and waterways clean

The Ohio River has been one of the area’s greatest natural resources.

The development of towns along the river depended upon its use as a means of drinking water, wildlife and transportation.

Volunteers will have a chance to help protect the river Saturday.

The 30th-annual Ohio River Sweep is set to begin at 9 a.m. at the Steubenville Marina. Ohio River Sweep 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 organizes the event.

Last year, 6,000 volunteers worked at 151 cleanup sites and removed 320 tons of debris from the shorelines, according to ORSANCO. Locally, 120 volunteers collected 150 bags of trash. The overall quality of the Ohio River has greatly improved during the past several decades. There was a time when the River was more heavily polluted, industry lined the banks on both sides and communities dumped sewage into the river.

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 has led to more trash and junk left behind. Unfortunately, some believe it is a good place to dump stuff, like construction debris and carpeting.

High water also leaves behind debris on the banks. But there is no reason to let that trash and debris linger.

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

Volunteers will be given trash bags and gloves and afterward will receive a River Sweep T-shirt.

The cleanup along the banks of the river is a great way to take care of a small section of the Ohio River.

Consider volunteering a couple of hours Saturday morning to be part of the thousands of people all along the length of the Ohio River who come out for this annual cause.

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