Volunteers Join Forces for Ohio River Sweep 2019

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The Ohio River is now without thousands of pounds of trash lining its shores, thanks to the 2019 Ohio River Sweep.

The annual event celebrated its 30th anniversary on Saturday with volunteers from Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania all working locally to pick up trash along the Ohio River and a number of tributaries.

Volunteers cleaning up trash along the shore of the Hocking River in Athens

In Athens, 62 volunteers showed up to the Athens Community Center Saturday morning to help out in cleaning the Hocking River, which meets the Ohio River near the state’s border with West Virginia.  Rex Cosgrove was one of those volunteers.

“I’m originally from Western Pennsylvania which is also in the Ohio Watershed,” said Cosgrove. “And so it is cool that like people from back home where I’m from, and people back in my current home are all working together to get something done.”

In total, Athens volunteers collected 46 bags of miscellaneous trash, 37 bags of recycling and 60 pounds of scrap metal.  The total weights of trash and recycling have not been released yet.

Abbot Stevenson is the Urban Conservation Technician for the Athens Soil and Water Conservation District and says that anyone who has been to the Ohio River is aware of its need for cleaning.

“If you’ve ever been on the Ohio River you’ve noticed that there is trash all along the banks,” said Stevenson. “And it gets there through storm water picking up trash from interior properties and carrying it down to the Ohio River, and in our case the Hocking River.  So when the flood water comes it picks up the trash and carries it to the Hocking, which then goes to the Ohio River.  So if you imagine all the communities that could potentially contribute trash to the Ohio River, it’s a large area.”

The Ohio River Sweep is run annually by ORSANCO.  Last year the sweep cleaned up over 300 tons of trash from the shores of the Ohio River and its tributaries.