Volunteers take part in the annual Ohio River Sweep

Annual Ohio River Sweep returned Saturday

COVINGTON, Ky. -- Shopping carts, car seats, and television sets are a few things volunteers might've stumbled across Saturday morning at the annual Ohio River Sweep.

Teams of local nature enthusiasts and advocates of cleanliness met at three locations in Covington to help restore the shoreline to its natural beauty and have some fun while they are at it.

They joined others from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Cairo, Illinois in cleaning up the 981-mile shorelines of the river and its tributaries.

"River Sweep is always an inspiring experience," said Jen Barnett, president of the nonprofit Keep Covington Beautiful. "Covington is lucky enough to be home to the banks of two rivers, so we must be stewards of these beautiful resources and make sure they are an asset to our community."

Scott Wingate, the executive director of the Wave Foundation, said one of the major culprits of litter in the river is plastic bottles.

"We see hundreds of hundreds of plastic bottles," Wingate said. "One thing we can do to make sure that we avoid having plastic bottles on the banks of the Ohio River is to make sure we recycle."

The city of Covington, the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission and Rumpke Waste and Recycling helped to organize the sweep with Keep Covington Beautiful.

"It's actually pretty fun," said Shiela Fields, Covington's solid waste and recycling coordinator.

"In addition to keeping the riverbanks clean, we hope that increased public awareness about the conditions of our waterways will foster greater environmental concern for them," said Fields.

Since 2014, organizers estimate the river sweep has cleaned up more than 7 tons of trash from the shores of the Ohio River.

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