River Sweep Saturday morning

The Ohio and Muskingum rivers and all their tributaries are of great importance to residents of the River City. Keeping the waters clean has been the goal of the Ohio River Sweep since 1989 and volunteers will have the chance to pitch in on Saturday to keep the effort going.

Last year alone, 500 tons, or 100,000 pounds, of trash was collected in the six participating states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana and Illinois.

From 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, volunteers will meet at Devols Dam on Muskingum River Road in Devola. Coordinator Tiffany Harvey, executive director of Friends of the Lower Muskingum River, is organizing the local effort.

“The River Sweep is important because removing trash prevents it from being washed out further downstream where it can enter our oceans,” Harvey explained. “Trash is dangerous for local wildlife as well as marine life. Consuming trash kills millions of animals a year disrupting food chains. Many people around the world rely on fish and marine life for food. This disruption in the food chain would most severely impact those people. Economically speaking, this impacts the fishing industry which many people rely on for their livelihood. We would see an impact in the rise of fish prices at our grocery stores. “

Local level trash can also impact fishing recreation, a long-standing tradition for many families in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

“My family and I have fished at Devols Dam for years where I have caught quite a few walleye. Memories of my Dad and our dog fishing with the dam flowing in the background are dear to me,” Harvey said. “I want to be sure that there will be fish in the river when I take my grandchildren fishing for the first time at Devols Dam.”

The Ohio River Sweep is an event organized by the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO), an interstate water pollution agency for the Ohio River Valley. River Sweep encompasses the entire length of the river, from its origin in Pittsburgh to its end in Cairo, Illinois, including nearly 3,000 miles of shoreline and many tributaries.

Solvay has long been a sponsor of this and similar events on a worldwide as well as local level.

“We provide financial support and have for over 10 years,” said Wally Kandel, senior vice president, Marietta site manager for Solvay Advanced Polymers. “Operation Clean Sweep, with which this is connected, tries to keep the waterways clear and clean, free of plastics … we have a lot of employees that volunteer for a lot of different activities and this is one that we do provide suggestion for the employees to participate.”

Volunteers will have trash bags, gloves, T-shirts and lunch provided. Wearing old clothes and close-toed shoes is recommended. For more information, visit ohioriversweep.org.

If you go

¯ What: Ohio River Sweep at the Muskingum River.

¯ When: 9 a.m. to noon. Saturday.

¯ Where: Devols Dam, Muskingum River Road, Devola.

¯ Details: Trash bags, gloves and T-shirts provided.

¯ Contact: ohioriversweep.org or Friends of the Lower Muskingum at 740-374-4170.