Thirty-two car tires, a rusty bumper, underwear, an orange cone, bowling balls, shoes and a Cabbage Patch doll that looked more like a Garbage Pail Kid were among the items Cox Media Group Ohio employees and other volunteers pulled from the Great Miami River Friday in downtown Dayton as part of Clean Sweep 2014.
In all, the 64 volunteers removed 5,000 pounds of waste.
Rob Rohr, Cox Media Group Ohio’s senior vice president and general manager, said conservation, the environment and sustainability are critically important to Cox Enterprises.
He noted that James Cox Kennedy, Cox’s chairman, set a goal to send zero waste to landfills in the next seven to 10 years and to become carbon and water neutral in 25 to 30 years.
“Cox is a tremendously large company and that’s a very aggressive goal,” Rohr said. “Efforts like this (Clean Sweep) are one step forward to really achieving that.”
The Cox employees from Dayton Daily News, WHIO TV and radio and other Cox companies participated in the effort organized by American Rivers and other groups.
The effort was part of a larger river cleanup effort that spans from Indian Lake down to the Ohio River.
The Northern Clean-up event — from Indian Lake to Franklin — continues Saturday, July 19.
Cox employees throughout the nation — Dayton, Atlanta, Charlotte, S.C. and Jacksonville, Fla. included — have
collected nearly 16 tons of waste as part of river clean-ups.
Rohr said Cox Oho employees alone have collected 11,000 pounds of debris.
He called rivers the lifeblood of communities.
“It is one of the reasons we settle in cities,” he said. “It continues to bring our citizens out to the banks. It is really important.”
Volunteers from Cox Ohio were joined by Manheim employees from Cincinnati as well as community members.
They hauled tires up steps, waddled and paddled in water and picked up broken glass from walkways.
Barbara Kedziora, Cox’s marketing manager, quickly picked up enough fast food wrappers and other waste from a patch of brush to fill two garbage bags.
She said she learned to appreciate water during her childhood in Minnesota, where there is a lake “everywhere you look.”
“I like to be near water,” she said. “It is important to keep it nice.”
Trish Butler, director of marketing and public information for Five Rivers MetroParks, said efforts like Clean Sweep are important “to help protect the environment and further our conservation efforts.”
The Clean Sweep project fits into Cox Enterprises’ national sustainability project, Cox Conserves.
Cox Enterprises and its affiliated foundations have invested more than $100 million in sustainability and conservation through operations projects and grants to environmental nonprofits.
This includes the $1 million challenge grant from the James M. Cox Foundation in 2011 in support of The River Project for The Miami Valley Region.