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Volunteers To Comb Ohio River Banks For Trash This Weekend

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ORSANCO

Volunteers will be out this weekend with trash bags and gloves to help clean up the banks of the Ohio and Kentucky rivers. 

The efforts are part of the Ohio River Sweep, which takes place in six states along 3,000 miles of shoreline of the Ohio River and its tributaries.

Lisa Cochran with the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, ORSANCO, says when the effort started in 1989, there were big items like cars and refrigerators along the river banks.  But she says while volunteers still find a few tires, most of the trash today is smaller.

“What we’re finding the most is plastic items," Cochran says. "So that even though the weight of what we’re finding is decreasing, the volume is not."

“And we’re finding a lot of plastic food items, soda pop bottles, things like that," she says. "And we think a lot of that trash is traveling.  It’s traveling from parking lots; it’s traveling from streets.”

Cochran says each year volunteers pick up enough trash locally to fill ten to twelve dumpsters. 

She says in addition to cleaning up the riverbanks, the goal is to get people familiar with the natural resource that is the Ohio River.

“River Sweep’s such an easy way of doing that," Cochran says. "To see the Ohio River, come to the shorelines, and pick up litter and debris, and connect with the Ohio River.”

This year, the clean-up coincides with Paddlefest, a flotilla of kayaks and canoes paddling down the Ohio River, from Coney Island to downtown Cincinnati.

Event chair Brewster Rhoads says participants are encouraged to participate in the clean-up.

“We are providing an opportunity for people who paddle Saturday to get a trash bag as they get into the river at Coney Island, and stop along the shore of either side of the river and pick up trash and then drop it off at Schmidt Field where ORSANCO has a great big dumpster.” Rhoads says workers will also break open the bags and try to recover materials for recycling.. Paddlefest is Saturday morning.  The River Sweep is all day Saturday.