Polk County Big Sweep seeks volunteers for Oct. 10 clean-up

Published 5:28 pm Thursday, September 24, 2009

Polk County will play its part in this year&squo;s North Carolina Big Sweep on Saturday, Oct. 10.

During its 22-year existence, Big Sweep volunteers have retrieved almost nine million pounds of litter from our environment. That&squo;s about 22,700 football fields five feet deep in litter.

These cleanups are important, because litter can last hundreds of years in our environment. Before it decomposes, litter can hurt our economy when businesses refuse to locate to an area if it is too trashy.&bsp; Tourists won&squo;t linger in trashy areas, they won&squo;t spend money, and they won&squo;t return with their friends.

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Litter is a human health hazard, when it contaminates our water supply as it decomposes. It&squo;s also deadly to wildlife that eat or become entangled in litter, and once entangled, wildlife often attract other wildlife to the same hazard.

Polk County&squo;s volunteer participation in 2008 was great, according to event organizers. More than 140 volunteers helped clean eight miles of waterways and retrieve over 2,900 pounds.

Organizers ask that Polk residents help this year be even more successful in Polk County by helping out at one of two sites.

This year Polk County efforts will again include a section of the Green River and adjacent roadside, and a section of the Vaughn&squo;s Creek Greenway in Tryon. Cleanups will begin at 9 a.m. and last until 12:30 p.m.

The Green River cleanup volunteers will meet at the Fishtop Access parking area on Green River Cove Rd.

The Vaughn&squo;s Creek cleanup will focus on the site of a future Town of Tryon park, below the Lake Lanier dam. Volunteers will meet at the Carolina First parking lot on Highway 176 in Tryon.

Volunteers can contact Polk County Coordinator Mark Byington at 828-859-6874 or go to the Big Sweep website at www.ncbigsweep.org to learn more.