EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (KMOX) – You see them all the time while driving along back roads throughout the St. Louis region, though you may not give them more than a passing glance — huge piles of discarded tires.
It’s well known that such sites provide a festering breeding ground for mosquitoes, which in turn are incubators for diseases like West Nile virus.
That’s why Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in East St. Louis this week, packing several tractor-trailers full of old tires from an abandoned lot on 20th street to be hauled away from recycling.
They’ll also be doing the same thing in Washington Park.
Todd Marvel, Illinois EPA Waste Tire Program Manager, wishes they’d get more help from local governments.
“Townships, park districts, villages, counties,” Marvel tells KMOX News. “They’ll pick up a tire here, a tire there that’s dumped on public property, that’s dumped on abandoned property, and over the course of a year they’ll have a few thousand tires and we’ll go and pick them up.”
That statewide effort costs money, which is of course in short supply right now in Springfield.
Funding for the cleanups ceom from the EPA’s Used Tire Cleanup Program.
The agency allows state and local law enforcement agencies to issue citations of up to $1,500 for each violation of tire dumping laws, and tire shops that fail to collect a tire user fee from customers can also face a fine.
Despite the cost and the effort, the EPA’s Todd Marvel says it’s worth it as an ounce of prevention against the spread of West Nile.
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