WILLIAMSTOWN - More than 200 volunteers from around the Mid-Ohio Valley helped clean up local waterways Saturday during the 2012 Ohio River Sweep, officials said.
"We have individuals, volunteers from Hino and groups from area churches who volunteer every year to help out," said Richa Bradford, secretary of the Wood County Solid Waste Authority.
One of the companies that had volunteers participate in the area effort was Hino Motors Manufacturing of Williamstown, which had several employees help at the Williamstown Boat Ramp.
Photo by Jolene Craig
Father and daughter John Burge and Kaylin, 13, of Williamstown, pick up trash from the bank of the Ohio River at the Williamstown Boat Ramp Saturday during the 2012 Ohio River Sweep.
"(Participating in the River Sweep) goes beyond our involvement in the community," said Stephen Stalnaker, Hino general manager. "We are focused on the environment and have been doing a lot of projects in and around our plant and the community to celebrate June as 'World Environmental Month.'
"Participating in this is a good way for us to get out in the community," he added. "The community gives a lot to us and this is one way we can give back."
John Garner, of Vienna, brought his daughter, Taylor, 13, and niece, Olivia Moser, 12, to the Williamstown site to participate in the cleanup for the first time.
"We are doing it as a community service for our church - the 36th Street Church of Christ in Vienna," Garner said. "I expect to get a lot of trash away from the river and where it belongs."
Both Taylor and Olivia said they hoped to have fun while helping the environment.
"I hope to make this an annual event," Garner added.
Patricia Morrison, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge, brought a boat to collect trash not accessible from land.
"We pick up trash and large items people can't get from land," she said. "The river is the centerpiece of the quality of life here and we need to make sure it is clean for everyone to enjoy."
The annual cleanup involves more than 3,000 miles of Ohio River shoreline from Pennsylvania to Illinois. The River Sweep started in 1989 and is the longest-running river cleanup effort in the country.
Last year's event in Williamstown saw 40 volunteers collect 72 bags of trash, seven tires, one computer, one recliner and one rocking horse.
"It is crazy what we find people have just left along the river," Bradford said.
The one-day clean-up event was held Saturday along more than 3,000 miles of shoreline from Pennsylvania to Illinois. The event is sponsored by the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission and West Virginia Make It Shine Program, along with sponsors from all participating states. Several sites along the Ohio River in Wood and Washington counties participated.
Last year, nearly 21,000 volunteers participated, collecting thousands of tons of trash. Site locations in Wood County were Point Park in Parkersburg and Williamstown Boat Landing in Williamstown while volunteers met at Devol's Dam in Washington County for the event.