February 16, 2004
NEW DATE FOR ANNUAL “BIG SWEEP” CLEANUP
Charlotte, NC - As you fill in the dates on your 2004 calendar, the Mecklenburg County Water Quality Program wants you to note a new date for the annual statewide Big Sweep cleanup. The 2004 North Carolina Big Sweep will be Saturday, October 2, 2004.
“For 17 years, we have held our massive statewide cleanup on the third Saturday in September,” said Anne Taylor, North Carolina Big Sweep chairman. “After Hurricane Isabel last year, we decided it was time to move the cleanup to the first Saturday in October.”
North Carolina Big Sweep must conduct the cleanup during September or October to be a part of the International Coastal Cleanup-a global effort by more than 90 countries. The new date was chosen because it was statistically the safest time to carry on the cleanup without hurricanes. Big Sweep staff researched North Carolina’s hurricane history since 1950 and found that there were eight North Carolina hurricanes in August, 15 in September, and two in October.
“In the event we have another hurricane, we still want to be part of the cleanup solution,” Taylor said. “We’re just addressing the confusion among volunteers that results when you have a short notice to reschedule a massive event such as our cleanup.” In addition to volunteer confusion, some counties had to contend with spoilage of food and ice for their volunteers when the cleanup had to be rescheduled.
The Mecklenburg County Water Quality Program has organized Big Sweep here for more than a decade. In 2003, more than 800 Mecklenburg County volunteers collected 33,325 pounds of trash from the County’s lakeshores and streams. Across North Carolina, more than 225 tons of trash were collected during Big Sweep.
North Carolina Big Sweep is an award winning 501(c)(3) nonprofit for litter-free watersheds. It was initiated in 1987 as a coastal cleanup called Beach Sweep. The event expanded inland and was renamed Big Sweep in 1989 and became the nation's first statewide waterway cleanup.
To learn more, about volunteering for Big Sweep within Mecklenburg County, visit the Mecklenburg County Water Quality Program’s Web site at
http://waterquality.charmeck.org or call the Mecklenburg County Big Sweep Coordinator, Meredith Sexton, at 704-432-1383.
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Media Contact: Alex Burnett (O) 704-432-0361 (M) 704-579-0288 or
firstname.lastname@example.org or Meredith Sexton (O) 704-432-1383 (M) 980-721-9394 or