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Waste Tires: Potential Breeding Grounds for Zika Virus Disease Vectors

Waste Tires: Potential Breeding Grounds for Zika Virus Disease Vectors


With cases of Zika virus on the rise, including widespread outbreaks in Central and South America and several dozen confirmed cases in the United States, officials are encouraging preventative strategies against its transmission, which is primarily by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Mosquitos are some of the most-effective disease-spreading vectors in the world, capable of passing the virus between groups of people who have not even been in contact. Further, eradicating the mosquito is a rather daunting task. There are, however, ways to target and reduce populations of the insect in particular areas, including depriving it of breeding grounds.

We tend to think of stagnant ponds and storm drains as mosquito-havens, but another major breeding ground, believe it or not, is inside abandoned tires. Often seen dumped in roadside ditches, dry creek beds, and junkyards, tires quickly fill with standing water and can harbor huge quantities of mosquito eggs. This is especially problematic in summer months, when other water sources tend to dry up.12-18-2013 042

Officials in Georgia (one of the states with confirmed cases) have been urging their residents to pick up and properly dispose of tires to reduce this risk. In order to clean up littered tires before mosquito season, and before spring foliage once again begins to hide dumped waste, we encourage residents of the Boston Mountain Solid Waste District to do the same, as soon as possible. While we are not currently at a high risk for the Zika virus in Arkansas, it’s never too early to take preventative action to protect our community’s health. The virus is spreading quickly, and scientists are still trying to understand all of its effects on human health, particularly on newborns. This lack of information surrounding the virus’s effects means that we should be even more cautious in our approach to dealing with it.

Littered tires not only harbor dangerous disease vectors, they are also unsightly, marring our beautiful Boston Mountain landscape. Fortunately, every resident of the District (children included) can dispose of FOUR passenger tires every 30 days for FREE, and are charged only $4 for each additional tire with rim. Find designated drop-offs on our disposal map, and next time you see a dumped tire, do a good deed and bring it to a drop-off near you.