CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) -
It's everywhere you look in Region Eight, piles among piles of trash.
"Everyday, as soon as you turn on my drive that's all you see is tires, recliners, beds. I mean it's just nasty."
Brandon Bobbitt recently moved to his residence on Craighead County Road 7803 and says he's tired of people dumping tires in a ditch adjacent to his home.
In fact, hundreds of tires have now blocked the ditch keeping rainwater from washing off his property.
"I've got a swimming pool to put up out there, but you don't need one if it rains because it's a big ole lake out in the front yard," said Bobbitt.
But hopefully that's about to change, thanks to a visit from Region Eight News and Craighead County's Department of Environmental Services.
"This is quite a health hazard. It's a mosquito breeding ground. It is a public neusance," said George Johnson as he looks at the tire dumping site.
What's even worse is who is expected to be dumping the tires.
"We think it has come from a retailer in Jonesboro, a tire retailer," said Johnson.
Prosecutions against that company are now forthcoming, but Johnson, the County's officer in charge says most businesses are environmentally friendly.
He says the true culprits of trashing up the region are probably those you least expect, and they often want to cover it up.
"Sometimes they vigorously deny it. About half of the people deny it, and about half of the people want to clean it up and make it go away," said Johnson.
But unfortunately the trash in Region Eight is not going away overnight.
After a visit to the tire dumping site we joined Johnson for a trip to one of Craighead County's worst dumping sites, just off County Road 764 near Highway 141.
As we approached we noticed a truck up on the ridge that appeared to be dumping a load of trash, but as we got closer we actually found what we thought was an abandoned homesite trashed with scrap metal, old cars....
"And as you can see over here, we have an enormous amount of trash back here. That is definitely a health hazard," said Johnson.
Typically on an abandoned site Johnson's office trys to contact the property owner or mortgage company, but on this day, it was a startling discovery.
Someone was actually staying in what we thought was the broken down homesite.
"Something is going to have to be done with this trash. The metal, I'm not too concerned about, but we can't have household trash," warned Johnson.
The resident agreed to clean-up the site, and we moved back down the ridge where piles among piles of old trash were laid out waiting for time to take it's toll.
And it's up to Johnson's office to find out who's trash it is.
"We are going to take you to court if we can prove that you did it," said Johnson.
It doesn't take very long going through the trash to find maybe a pill bottle or a piece of mail that's got your name written allover it.
Then it's all up to the justice system to decide.
Those charged in the legal system can face fines of up to $25,000 and even imprisonment.
Yet, everyday someone takes the chance on getting rid of their trash the wrong way.
"We have 1,200 miles of gravel road in Craighead County is the sad part, and down every one of them, most every one of them, there is a small illegal dumpsite," said Johnson.
And now it's up to everyone of us to help make the mess go away.
"We'll have to have help from the public. The public has got to make us aware of these sites, and it will take a community effort to get these sites cleaned up," said Johnson.
How you can help:
Log onto www.kait8.com and click the Trashing Region 8 button under or top story screen.
Or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be checking both of these and updating our website with the latest information on illegal dumpsites and the cleanup.
Then join us each week as we go to a new area and try to clean up this nasty problem.