500 volunteers expected in 7 upcoming cleanup events

Seven cleanups in September and October are expected to attract 500 volunteers and to result in removal of hundreds of bags of trash and tires. The North Carolina Geocachers will kick off the assault on Sept. 8, with club members tackling the Haw River shoreline near Robeson Creek.  This is their second cleanup this year! On Sept. 14, employees from Urogenix in Durham will clean a littered fishing access area off Martha’s Chapel Road at the other end of the lake.

Over 100 employees from GlaxoSmithKline in Research Triangle Park are expected to take part in the company’s Orange Day on Sept. 20, their worldwide day of community service. These hard working, enthusiastic volunteers are back for a third consecutive year. Their  target is a dense mat of trash mixed with tires on the east side of the lake near Jordan Lake Dam. Crosswinds Boating Center and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will donate operators and pontoon boats to ferry the volunteers to the shoreline sites.

The Immanuel Temple SDA Pathfinders, a Christian church-based youth organization, will bring about 40 volunteers on Sept. 30 to a fishing access point off Big Woods Road.  This is another chronically littered area that we must clean frequently.

Biogen Idec will return again to for another We Care Deeply Day of community service.  About 100 of its employees are expected on Oct. 5 and again on Oct. 12.  Their assignment is a badly trashed section of the Wilderness Island shoreline on the Haw River Arm.  Jordan Lake Water Sports and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are donating operators and pontoon boats to assist.

As part of a statewide effort, CJL serves as Chatham County’s coordinator for North Carolina Big Sweep.  This effort is a cleanup open to the general public and will be held on Oct. 13. Volunteers will remove trash from the shoreline along the New Hope channel near the New Hope Overlook.

Details about the Big Sweep cleanup are available at www.meetup.com/helpcleanjordanlake.  Our goal is to attract 200 volunteers on Oct. 13.  We are particularly pleased this year that rangers from Jordan Lake State Park Recreation Area will join staff from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

After these seven cleanups, CJL volunteers will have cleared trash from 15 miles of the worst impacted shoreline,  a 30-year legacy of trash since Jordan Lake was built. We could never accomplish this without the support of many organizations that donate essential services and supplies and of course, hundreds of volunteers to do the hard work.

As a running tally, Chatham County’s Solid Waste & Recycle Division has donated 15 roll-off dumpsters to transport 4,700 bags of trash weighing about 50 tons to the landfill and it has provided supplies as well.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has paid to recycle 2,300 tires.  NC Department of Transportation’s Stormwater Program and NC Big Sweep have donated trash bags and sturdy gloves.

We estimate another 10 miles of heavily trashed shoreline remains to be cleaned and we hope to tackle that stretch in 2013. The we can scale back the cleanups to keep up with the annual recurrence of trash carried by rainfall runoff into the Haw River and into the lake.  But, the long-term solution still requires prevention of litter both in the upstream counties and along the shoreline.