Norman Sisson and his Pearl River Clean Sweep team were the first to report the massive tire dumps on the Pearl River between the Old Brandon Rd bridge and Highway 80 in Jackson. The tires had likely been marring the landscape of the river for decades; hundreds of them imprinted with dates from the 1960's to early 2000's. This forgotten wasteland could be seen every time travelers passed over the Highway 80 bridge on their way to and from Jackson. The dump was located less than 2 miles from MDEQ headquarters yet it remained in place, leaching contaminants into the water and soil, providing a haven for mosquito populations and contributing to the blight that plagues our capital city.
The local news reported on the issue here and here. Pearl Riverkeeper escorted members of the City of Jackson and MDEQ to the location on two separate occasions. Plans were initiated by MDEQ to remove the tires. Yet, one year later, when Norman Sisson again led his crew of boaters and kayakers down river to clean up this section of river, the tire dump remained. That is, until 2 Mississippi natives and local fishermen decided enough was enough. Concerned that the tires were being swept downriver after each high rain event, John Breland mobilized some friends for a Saturday morning cleanup event that exceeded all expectations. Over the course of several hours, John, Berry Blanton and 8 other dedicated volunteers removed 204 tires from the west side sandbar, leaving the area completely free of all trash, debris and tires.
Shout out to organizer and leader, John Breland, heavy equipment operator, Berry Blanton, and all of the other hard-working volunteers for leaving this area better that the way they found out. You can thank them for contributing to a cleaner swimmable, fishable, drinkable Pearl River.
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Pearl Riverkeeper is a licensed member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, the largest and fastest growing nonprofit solely focused on clean water.