Volunteers invited to scour riverbank of trash (but expect to get muddy)

COVINGTON, Ky. – Volunteers are invited to clean trash from the banks of the Ohio River on Saturday as part of the Covington “leg” of national River Sweep activities held every year.

Expect muddy shoes and clothes, sore muscles, a sense of accomplishment – and interesting surprises.

The most common pieces of debris will be anything that floats: Styrofoam, smokeless tobacco cans, cigar filters, soccer balls, buckets, and the omnipresent plastic bottles. But over the years, volunteers have found or dug out a wide variety of things: a wheelchair tire, a weight attached to a chain, baby dolls, a shopping cart, a basketball rim, televisions, and a Big Wheel.

“You just never know what you’ll find on the banks of the river,” said Sheila Fields, coordinator of Covington’s Solid Waste and Recycling Division, which is partnering with Keep Covington Beautiful on the event. 

The event runs 9 a.m. to noon, with the meeting point at the River Walk Trail at 14 Pete Rose Pier. It's easiest to find by following Bakewell Street/Pete Rose Pier north to the river side of the flood wall. There is plenty of parking available. 

However, volunteers can get a free light breakfast (coffee and a bagel) at Lil’s Bagels at 308 Greenup St. at 8:30-ish.

From the meeting point, small teams will head both east and west with the goal of cleaning the river between Madison Avenue and Highway Avenue. Gloves, tools, trash bags, and water will be provided, but volunteers should wear sturdy shoes and clothes that can get dirty.

A light lunch will be available after the event.

To help organizers plan, volunteers are encouraged to register at RIVER SWEEP REGISTRATION.

The event is part of the annual River Sweep initiative organized by ORSANCO (the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission). It seeks to clean the shorelines of the 981-mile Ohio River and its tributaries in six states from Pittsburgh, Pa., to Cairo, Ill

In light of the jump in COVID-19 numbers, unvaccinated volunteers should observe common-sense safety protocols by keeping distance from each other and wearing masks when bunched up.

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