News From Terre Haute, Indiana

April 3, 2013

EDITORIAL: Crack down on dumpers

Discarding tires illegally deserves aggressive attention

The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — There is a reason it’s called “illegal” dumping. It’s against the law. And there is a very good reason illegal dumping is against the law.

Illegally dumped materials are often more than just an eyesore. They create serious health hazards.

Thanks to a couple of Vigo County landowners, the significant problem of illegally dumped tires is being brought to light.

As the Tribune-Star’s Arthur Foulkes reported in Tuesday’s newspaper, acres of apparently illegally dumped tires are creating health concerns in a remote area of Prairieton Township, not far from Honey Creek, the Wabash River and rural homes. The tires collect rainwater and can become prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes that transmit diseases such as the West Nile virus.

Considering the environmental damage and health problems these tire dump sites can cause, it’s time for the issue to be taken seriously. A county official acknowledged that tire dumps are a problem, but was unaware of this one. If it’s a big enough problem, and chances are it is, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management could step in.

It is maddening to think that unscrupulous individuals or companies would be so callous as to discard tires in this fashion. Yes, proper handling of old tires can be expensive, but it’s not fair to transfer the problem to a rural landowner or the taxpayers to ultimately clean up.

In addition to helping landowners get the Prairieton Township mess cleaned up, a concerted effort to crack down on illegal dumping should be launched. If the county makes it known that such behavior won’t be tolerated, and steps up enforcement, it will go a long way toward lessening the problem.

While the county works to deal with the problem, residents should help whenever they can. If you witness illegal dumping, or even suspect it, do not hesitate to contact law enforcement authorities. Forcing irresponsible people to suffer the consequences of their actions, such as paying stiff fines for illegal dumping, is a tried and true method for convincing others to be more responsible.