Big Sweep

NC Big Sweep Waterway Cleanup

Official Big Sweep Date: Saturday October 1, 2016

Students Collecting Trash 

Join thousands of volunteers all over the world in combating our litter problem!

Trash on land often gets washed into streams and carried into the oceans, which act as gigantic basins collecting pollution from all over the world. Have you heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? If not, look it up! Trash in our oceans is a serious pollution issue affecting the health of people, wildlife and local economies. Trash in the water or on the shore can injure or kill marine animals, beach visitors and ensnare boat propellers, not to mention the harm it can do on the way to the ocean.

Help clean up our trash by participating in Big Sweep! The purpose of Big Sweep is to rid the state's waters of litter by promoting environmental education and an annual waterway cleanup. In NC, Big Sweep is sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy as a part of their International Coastal Cleanup. The official Big Sweep cleanup is held every year on the first Saturday in October, but cleanups can be organized throughout the year.

Volunteers take notes on kind of debris collected every year. After data is collected, it is analyzed to pinpoint sources of debris to help enforce laws and focus educational efforts. Big Sweep cleanups began in NC in 1987 and in Cabarrus County in 1992. Cleanup supplies and educational materials are available from the Conservation District, which coordinates Big Sweep locally. The Conservation District also assists with adoption of streams through the state Streamwatch program. Educational booklets available to schools are "Splish Splash" (2nd), "Ripples" (3rd - 5th) and "Undercurrents" (6th - 8th).

The Soil and Water Conservation District assists volunteers by providing data collection cards, bags and pick up sticks. Contact us if you would like to start a group in your area or join an existing group!

Students Recording Big Sweep Data