River cleanup on Saturday seeks volunteers

First Posted: 10/2/2014

ORRUM — Robeson County residents are being called on to help clean up the Lumber River on Saturday as part of the state’s 27th annual Big Sweep initiative.

During the Big Sweep, volunteers remove debris and litter from waterways and shorelines across North Carolina. The local event will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Last year, 35 volunteers removed approximately 3,000 pounds of trash from the Lumber River. Across the state, 68,467 volunteers collected 377,202 pounds of trash.

Neill Lee, the superintendent of the Lumber River State Park, says Boy Scouts from Red Springs played a huge role in the success of last year’s event, putting in more than four hours of time to collect trash along the riverbank.

“This is a great way to educate children on protecting the environment,” he said.

North Carolina Big Sweep has gained national recognition for many quality educational products, such as Splish Splash for grades K-3 and Ripples for grades four and five.

“When they get out there, they get to see what I’m telling them, and it makes a point,” Lee said. “It’s a lifelong lesson to them to take care of their environment.”

Twenty-five volunteers have agreed to help with the cleanup this weekend and Lee is hoping more will join the cause.

“It’s great to see folks that care about the river and the environment come together,” Lee said.

North Carolina was the first state to have a statewide cleanup initiative for its shorelines. North Carolina Big Sweep was established as Beach Sweep in 1987. Since its founding, North Carolina Big Sweep has had almost 335,000 volunteers and collected more than 11 million pounds of trash from the environment in North Carolina.

“The river doesn’t look terrible, but there is plenty of trash to pick up. This is all about making a cleaner, safer river,” Lee said.

Blue skies and warm weather are in the forecast for Saturday’s event.

All materials needed for the sweep will be provided by the Lumber River State Park.

To volunteer, call Lee at 910-628-4564. For information on the North Carolina Big Sweep Initiative, visit www.ncbigsweep.org.