POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (KFVS) - Poplar Bluff Ranger District (PBRD) employees held three separate tire clean-ups, with a total of 705 tires removed.
Starting in 2018, PBRD employees began to plan the clean-up.
Simmons Tire and Auto, a local business, stepped up and offered the Forest Service tire disposal at industry cost. This saved the Forest Service and the taxpayers, thousands of dollars.
The average car tire weighs about 20 pounds, pick-up truck tires weigh around 35 pounds, and semi-truck tires weigh more than 100 pounds.
If there had only been car tires, the 705 tires would weigh in at 14,000 pounds.
These tires had been dumped across the forest for many years by people who did not want to pay the tire disposal fee when they purchased new tires.
The tires had been showing up at an alarming rate over the past decade. This took away from the beauty of the forest and was beginning to invite more illegal dumping.
Trash dumps left to sit in the forest can have some serious negative effects.
If left alone, they would likely continue to grow in size and quantity. This increases the costs for any removals in the future.
Trash dumps also have the potential to release harmful contaminants into the environment.
District Ranger Jon Stansfield thanked his employees for making this happen.
“I want to give a shout out of appreciation to Simmons Tire and Auto and to all the employees that have helped over the past couple years," Stansfield stated. "Including Frank Spencer, Jeremy Reynolds, Mike Stevens, Danny Olivas, Justin Hill, Aaron Moore, Amy Gallamore, Mike Pomeroy, Amy Duff, Connor Erickson, Dan Rael, Zach Saiz, Sueanne Cmehil-Warn, Noel Ellerbe, and Nathan Patterson—great job everyone!”
The removal of trash dumps keeps forest beautiful, improves visitor safety, and reduces negative environmental impacts, such as hazardous materials.
“We really took these clean-ups seriously because we don’t want visitors to have a negative perception when they use their public lands,” stated Nathan Patterson, a forestry technician on PBRD.
Trash dumps are potential sources of pollutants. These pollutants can spread in the surface runoff and even in the groundwater.
Removing dumped items is very important to water quality.
Employees also wanted to send a message that dumping tires is not okay.
Patterson continued, “I hope that as we continue these organized efforts, the public will begin to notice the work that is being done to make their experience on their public lands more enjoyable; and maybe they can help us educate others as to why people should not be dumping tires on the national forest.”
Although PBRD employees take risks when cleaning up trash dumps.
There is the potential for hiding snakes and dangerous objects like discarded needles> There’s also cuts from sharp objects, lifting injuries, and exposure to other biological or chemical hazardous materials.
Ideally, people would dispose of their trash appropriately without dumping on the land that belongs to everyone.