One of the most wonderful-and important-traditions in our valley is the annual Ohio River Sweep. For the past 24 years, thousands of residents of the six states bordering the majestic stream spend a day clearing trash and debris from the river's 3,000 miles of shoreline and many of its larger tributaries.
In many ways, the river is our collective backyard. Keeping it clean makes the river more pleasant for recreation and more appealing for tourists and business people looking at our area for potential job creation.
"This is a recreational waterway; it is a transportation artery; millions of people get their drinking water from the Ohio and we really need to respect this river," Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission Project Leader Jeanne Ison said during a stop in Parkersburg last week. "We really need to show that we respect and really appreciate all of the things it brings to this area."
This year's River Sweep, again sponsored by the ORSANCO, the water pollution control agency for the Ohio River and its tributaries, is set for Saturday. Cleanup work is planned in Wood and Washington counties.
Persons wanting to volunteer for this event-and we hope you are-can call 1-800-359-3977 for site locations and county coordinators in their area or visit the website at www.orsanco.org and click on River Sweep. Locally, people can contact John Reed with the Wood County Solid Waste Authority at 304-424-1873. Local companies, such as DuPont Washington Works and SABIC Innovative Plastics, are sponsors of the event.
This year, the Ohio River Sweep has a local flavor. Each year, a poster contest was held for the Sweep and it was won this year by Parkersburg South High School 11th-grader Amy Willis.