Volunteers clean debris along shores of Ohio River

Photo courtesy of Becky Tanner Leaders from DuPont and Chemours Rebecca Adams, left, and Becky Tanner gather trash during Saturday’s Ohio River Sweep.

PARKERSBURG — The annual Ohio River Sweep was held Saturday morning at Point Park in Parkersburg and at other points along the Ohio River through several states.

Organized locally by the Wood County Solid Waste Authority, dozens of volunteers, both independent and affiliated with sponsor companies such as DuPont, Chemours and Hino, met at Point Park to clean the surrounding areas of the Ohio and Little Kanawha rivers from 9 a.m. to noon.

“This is my 11th year doing this,” said John Reed, the director of the Wood County Solid Waste Authority. “We have lots of great volunteers, including the amazing ladies from the Parkersburg Yacht Club who help coordinate.”

The Ohio River Sweep is an event that is organized by the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) and has multiple cleanup sites in six states on the same day, including Ohio and West Virginia. In 2018, 6,000 volunteers participated in total, according to ORSANCO.

“Our city maintenance team does a great job of maintaining Point Park and Belpre does a great job on their side too,” Reed said. “Our biggest problem for trash continues to be Pond Run, which runs through Vienna and feeds into the river.”

Photo by Jenna Pierson The Wood County Solid Waste Authority participated in the Ohio River Sweep and gave t-shirts to volunteers on Saturday.

The goal of the cleanup is to promote environmental sustainability and encourage river users to be more mindful of their waste habits.

“This was my first year doing this with DHL Supply Chain,” said Jeff Shaver, a volunteer. “We just wanted to come out and do our part to help.”

The Ohio River has one of its largest geographical curves at Point Park, according to Reed. It is for this reason that lots of trash accumulates on the banks.

“It was a really good time just helping the community,” said Rebecca Adams, a representative of DuPont. “We just enjoy being a part of this and we got quite a lot of trash today.”

In total, volunteers collected 46 bags of trash and a variety of other junk items, ranging from 12 metal barrels to an old TV set. Lunch was additionally provided for volunteers.

Photo by Jenna Pierson Volunteers gather for a group photo before lunch on Saturday during the annual Ohio River Sweep at Point Park.

“It is also a great time to get together with families and coworkers,” said Becky Tanner, a representative of Chemours.

Rob and Dylan Phillips, a father and son duo affiliated with DHL Supply Chain in Washington, W,Va., know how important it is to take care of the rivers and that their participation is making a difference.

“This is my first year doing this with the river sweep and it’s a great cause … when my buddy (Dylan) and I go fishing we always clean up,” Rob Phillips said. “I wish people would watch and learn and realize that this trash is destroying our environment.”