Illegal Dumps A Problem On Hwy 15

Recreation and Wildlife Technician Anthony Bond wonders why people chose the Desoto National Forrest as their personal dumping ground.

"Some people miss it or are too lazy," says Bond. "Or at the time, they don't want to put it in their yard. Maybe they want to dump it on somebody else and don't want it to be out in front of their house on their lawn."

And he knows what volunteers will find in these woods during their annual forest cleanup this weekend.

"People throw a lot of old tires out in the forest," says Bond. "We get old couches, and refrigerators and stoves, stuff like that."

The story is the same on the approach to the park along Highway 15.

"It's definitely illegal dumping," says Harrison County Beautification Director Cindy Simmons. "It must have been during the night at times whenever there's not a lot of traffic up and down this highway. And this is a state maintained highway."

That means it's the state's responsibility to clean up. But Simmons says keeping the roadways and vacant lots clean should be everyone's responsibility.

"There's no sense of ownership," says Simmons. "People don't care about the area right now. Maybe they're not from here. Maybe they see one piece on the side of the road and say, 'Lets just go ahead and add more to it.'"

Simmons hopes that attitude can change. The cleanup efforts planned for cities and towns across the coast this weekend can be a start.

"After this and all these cleanups, yes, there will be people fined, and it's going to be $1,000 across the board."

If you're interested in participating in the Desoto National Forest Cleanup, call Andy Hunter at the District office. That number is (601) 928-4422.