Volunteers sought for river cleanup


Staff Writer

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Twin County residents will have an opportunity to celebrate Earth Day on Saturday by making their planet a little cleaner.

The eighth annual Riverkeeper Cup Cleanup Challenge, which will be held from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, will allow residents to engage in a friendly competition with other North Carolina communities to determine who will gather the most trash, measured by the pound, in a single day. 

The challenge is a competition among volunteers in Rocky Mount, Tarboro, Louisburg, Greenville and Washington for the coveted Riverkeeper Cup, which has not yet been possessed by either Twin Counties community. Last year, the title was won by Louisburg, but this year’s title is up for grabs.

“The Riverkeeper Cup Cleanup Challenge is not only a way to keep the Tar-Pamlico rivers clean, but it is also an opportunity for our volunteers to have some challenging fun for a purpose,” Cornelia McGee, coordinator for Keep America Beautiful of Nash and Edgecombe counties, said in a press release.

Though some volunteer groups have already signed up, McGee is still looking for a few good men, women and children to aid with the efforts. Interested volunteers are asked to meet at 8 a.m. at the Battle Park boat ramp in Rocky Mount or Shiloh landing in Tarboro to receive cleanup supplies and assignments. 

McGee reminds potential volunteers that roadside litter can make its way into storm drainage systems and into the waterways. Cleaning up this roadside litter will make roadways more attractive while also protecting a natural resource, McGee said.

Heather Deck, Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper for the Sound Rivers organization, said she expects the cleanup efforts in the Twin Counties to be even more important this year.

“Since Hurricane Matthew came through, we are likely to have even more debris this year,” Deck said.

Deck especially encourages boat owners to bring their canoe, kayak or jon boat along with personal flotation devices to the cleanup sites. Bags will be provided and a limited amount of gloves will be available at the site locations.

However, people without boats will still have plenty of work to do as land cleanups also will be conducted in all participating communities.

“Even if people cannot come out the entire time, even an hour or two of effort would help,” Deck said. “As our state grows, trash grows with it. Every piece of trash collected is one less piece to pollute out waterways.”

For more information on local Riverkeeper Cup Cleanup Challenge efforts, call McGee at 467-4960.