Volunteers brave rain to clean the banks of the Ohio River

June 27th, 2011    Author: Kristin Bednarski    Filed Under: News

From left, Lexi Schnabe, Skyler Hounshell, Roberta Uhl, Rachel Gastrich, Dave Uhl, Logan Foster, Abby Morgan, Jenny Gastrich and Kevin Gastrich pose in front of the trash they collected at the Ohio River Sweep in New Richmond June 18.

“We always have a real diverse group,” Minta Colvin, administrative assistant for the village of New Richmond said about the River Sweep.

About 30 people came to the New Richmond location to help pick up trash, despite the unfavorable weather. There were four other Clermont County locations including Moscow, Chilo Park, Meldahl Locks and Dam and Indian Mound Campground.

Colvin said more people came out than she expected because of the rain. The volunteers, several of which were with Girl Scout Troop 41720, collected bags upon bags of trash.

“I thought it would be a good way for them to help the community,” said Jenny Gastrich, who brought several troops and family members out to the sweep.

The group all chimed in with the types of trash they found along the river banks, which included a tire, a work out machine, shoes, a cell phone and dozens of plastic and glass bottles.

“You don’t realize how much garbage is out there,” said Roberta Uhl, who also helped Troop 41720. “It makes the river sick.”

The troops said cleaning up all of the trash made them more conscious about littering. Once they spent a couple of hours picking up trash, they returned to the bandstand for some food.

Colvin said the annual event definitely helps to make the river look nicer for the village, and the village also had help from the Clermont County Juvenile Detention Center the day of the sweep.

“It has a big impact every year,” Colvin said. “It instills a good sense of pride in (volunteers) they leave feeling like they made an improvement.”

In Clermont County there were 240 volunteers who collected 860 bags of trash during the event, in addition to a huge dumpster full of trash collected in New Richmond.

Becky Ploucha, Clermont 20/20 Clean and Green program manager, who organized the event for the county said the number of volunteers was down a bit this year, most likely due to the weather.

“The good thing is we are reporting less litter and debris,” Ploucha said. “I deeply feel that due to awareness of these types of events, people are littering less.”

Outside of Clermont County, Jeanne Ison, the creator and organizer of River Sweep, said some counties, such as Jefferson County in Kentucky and Posey County in Indiana, had to postpone the event due to storms. Because of this, Ison won’t know any grand totals for participants and garbage collected for a couple of weeks.

For more information about the Ohio River Sweep, visit www.orsanco.org/riversweep.

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