The garbage and trash spread over the Forest Service property to the south of McClure, Illinois, has been an eyesore for some time. The natural landscape is marred by illegal dumping, clinging to the sides and collecting in the bottoms of deep ravines that cut through the area.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency estimates that there are 150 cubic yards of trash, including glass bottles, discarded window panes, plastic bottles and packaging for all kinds of products, plastic bags, bags of household garbage, newspapers, milk cartons, food wrappings, cereal boxes, old books, tin cans, beer cans, soda containers, old furniture, wood, pizza boxes, scrap metal of various kinds often found in discarded refrigerators, washing machines, bread boxes, microwaves, stoves, dish washers and other kitchen appliances. The contrast to the colorful trees at this time of year is stark. Plastic bags hang from branches, causing hazards for local wildlife that get caught in the plastic and have a hard time escaping, especially young birds. Discarded fluorescent lights may cause problems as heavy metals used in their production escape when the lights are broken. Often illegal dumps contain other hazardous materials, like old batteries, insecticide containers, oil, paints of various kinds, and solvents.
Another serious danger at the site is the number of discarded tires, which, according to Illinois EPA Director Doug Scott, tend to collect water from rain and runoff, which stays stagnant in the tires, making perfect breeding grounds for the particular strain of mosquito responsible for spreading the West Nile Virus. This summer Illinois experienced a rise in mosquito populations after some heavy periods of rain. Cleaning up the site is one thing that can be done to prevent that from happening again.
The area should be helped aesthetically by the cleanup.
The dumping ground is located on Bean Ridge Road, in Alexander County, to the south and west of McClure, Illinois. Work should begin immediately, and with luck will be finished by 15 November.
Recently funding for such cleanups has been increased, so for the first time in its nearly four decades of operation, the Illinois EPA is cleaning up similar sites from the southern tip of the state to the northern areas, near Chicago.
The effort is under the control of I-RID, Illinois Removes Illegal Dumps. I-RID controlled cleanups have removed approximately 13,000 tons of materials from various sites, including tons of used and discarded tires, metals, and other solid wastes.
The state has the legal right to fine anyone found dumping on the site in the future, and it will monitor the area to make sure that dumping does not begin again.
Illinois EPA Cleans up McClure, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency