Archived Story

Big Sweep is big deal

Published 5:13pm Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Pamlico-Tar River Foundation’s Big Sweep fall cleanup of the Pamlico-Tar River is slated for Oct. 12. The N.C. Estuarium’s Big Sweep River Roving Cleanup is set for Thursday.

Both events will help remove litter — from fast-food sandwich wrappers to used tires to, possibly, a grocery cart. Hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds of such litter will be removed by an army of volunteers armed with gloves and trash bags.

Big Sweep events across North Carolina help improve the water quality of the Tarheel state’s rivers, lakes and other waterways by removing potential pollutants such as used petroleum-product containers (oil, gasoline and anti-freeze), metals and the like. They also help remove threats to wildlife, especially those plastic, six-pack beverage rings that pose dangers to waterfowl, turtles, otters and the like.

Cities and towns along the Pamlico-Tar River compete to see which one collects the most trash during a Big Sweep event.

Earlier this year, 540 pounds was pulled from the river and its waterfront in Washington. In Greenville, volunteers collected 1,340 pounds. Franklin County volunteers picked up 1,440 pounds — and that did not include the 3,300 pounds of tires collected from an old dumping ground near a historical site.

It was the third year running that Franklin County pulled off the win and takes home the Riverkeeper Cup trophy.

OK, Washington Big Sweep volunteers, consider yourselves challenged to best Franklin County and Greenville. Bring that Riverkeeper Cup to Washington.

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