Illegal dumping near Monette causing serious problems

by Stan Morris email | twitter

MONETTE, AR (KAIT) - Region 8 News visited an illegal dump site in eastern Craighead County. There, we learned how dumping garbage can potentially cost the innocent thousands of dollars.

"The trash puts out hydrocarbons and it gets into the water and creates quite an environmental issue," says Environmental Services Director George Johnson.

Johnson is talking about an illegal dumpsite on farmland just east of Monette. The dumpsite is on a farm not just occupied by crops and wildlife, but by horses.

Debbie Shirley leases part of the land just for her horses but the problem of illegal dumping is making problems for her. Shirley says, "If it gets into where they're at and they eat this it makes them sick. It could cost us up to $2,000 easy, because we've had them go to the vet before and it could be for colic they get from diseases from the trash."

But at this dumpsite, authorities think they know who did some of the dumping. Some of the suspects left mail in their garbage. Since the mail is addressed to a receiver, that person is presumed to be the owner of the garbage, according to the legal guidelines Johnson showed us.

"I've got many pages of magazines and envelopes and other things I will take to court," said Johnson.

Many of the items include tires, roof shingles and other garbage that does not decompose quickly. Some of it could be left behind for generations.

Debbie Shirley doesn't know why people have chosen her land to trash but she has an idea, "To be honest with you, I think its because people are too lazy to go to the dumpsite that we have in our area. I think they need to clean it up and I think they need to be fined for it."\

Johnson says you can face up to a $100,000 fine and up to one year in jail for illegal dumping.

Despite the stiff penalties, Shirley offers one other reason not to illegally dump garbage, "Why would you want to destroy something God's made?"