Harrison Co. beefs up fight against illegal dumping

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - By boosting manpower, Harrison County is hoping to put more muscle behind its anti-litter laws. In recent months, several district supervisors have hired officers responsible, in part, for responding to citizen complaints about illegal dump sites.

Just a few feet from a small cemetery on Stephen Earl Road is a dumping ground for someone's unwanted belongings.

"Most of the time it's on public land," said Harrison County Patrol Officer Rena Wiggins. "Little back roads where they think there's not a house or a residence. They think they can get away with dumping it there."

Wiggins' mission is to use the laws to get rid of eyesores. On public property, she coordinates with county crews to get dump sites picked up. On private land, she works with the property owner to clean up the site and, if necessary, issues a citation.

"Citizens don't want this in their community," Wiggins said. "They don't want the odors, or the smells, or the mosquitoes, or the things this attracts and creates. They just want a clean neighborhood to live in and this is how we can serve our citizens."

Dump site complaints go first to the Harrison County Beautification Commission. The director says people should notice a difference between the efficiency of the officers and how complaints were handled before through the code office.

Beautification Director Jolie Machado said, "They're seeing that we've got signs posted and we're working to resolve the matter. I think people will be really pleased how quickly we're taking care of their complaints."

One of the things that really bothers county leaders is the kind of things they're finding in these dumps sites. Clothing, shoes, purses, things that could easily go into the trash.

"Whatever they don't want in their yard, in their trash can, they put it off on someone else. It's someone else's problem," said Wiggins.

Officials say they are also working with the community to catch people dumping illegally. If you have a complaint about a dump site in Harrison County you can call (228) 214-1405.