To the Editor:
We took part in the Clean Sweep of The Great Miami River on July 16 by cleaning our section from south Sidney to south Piqua (about 16 miles). We had 104 volunteers, 33 canoes, several kayaks, three pick up trucks, two trailers, our crane truck crew, lots of hostesses and hosts and our runners of food.
Protecting Our Water Ways (POWW) volunteers break into four teams, A through D and have a walking team go through Piqua on our bike path. Our largest team, A, always gets the lion’s share of the trash, about 70% of the total. Our total weight this year was 5,150 pounds and that includes 33 tires.
Some of the unusual finds included: two shopping carts, a large black bra, two bags of children’s clothes (one burnt, one not), a stop sign, a mattress, the front end of an old Plymouth K car, a Freon bottle, a 25-foot by 6-inch section of black plastic corrugated pipe, lots of small trailer tires, a folding laundry hamper, a baker’s rack, a projection TV, a straight edge razor, two 55-gallon drums, and two large pieces of shag carpet.
Many thanks go out to our main sponsor, Cargill in Sidney, our major sponsors, Atlantis Sportswear, MCD, City of Sidney, Butler County SWD, POWW and our local supporters: City of Piqua, Jackson Tube, Hartzell Propellor, Piqua Rotary Club, Andy’s Garden, Rally’s, Miami County Foundation, Barrett Paving Materials, Rich Donnelly, Scott Family McDonald’s, Subway (Walmart), Dobo Delights, Park National Bank, Piqua Community Foundation, Direct Digital Media, Community Foundation of Shelby County, Down A River / Down A Beer, French Oil Mill Machinery, Subway (Sunset), Tecumseh Woods Swim Club, Lee’s Chicken, 3 Joe’s, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Crayex Corp., East of Chicago, Papa John’s, Swift Run Farm, Dan French Family.
The key to this whole event over 19 years is due to the tremendous work of our volunteers. We have logged over 13,500 community man hours in keeping this beautiful Great Miami River clean and open for all to enjoy. Many folks are paddling their kayaks, canoes, rafts and tubing on these waters. Enjoying blue and green herons, ducks, occasional bald eagles, fish, beavers, musk rats, turtles, deer, raccoons, king fishers, red tail hawks and ospreys.
A shout out goes to City of Piqua Street Department for spotting trucks for us and using cones and signs. The same for the Piqua Police Department for help from an officer on a four-wheeler for towing a trailer for our walking volunteers. Thanks also to the Piqua Fire Department for being on standby should we need them for any issues.
The tonnage this year was 89% higher than last year’s (our lowest ever) and it makes me sick to continue to find this much. We have to do better and learn how to reduce, recycle, re-use and dispose of trash correctly. I always come back to the thought of what if we did not start to do this back in 2004? Imagine, you would be seeing 203,400 pounds (including 1,900 tires) in The Great Miami River today!
Thanks to all of you! The load is not that heavy if we all lift together.
— Mr. Jeff Lange