A group headed by Hawthorne Utilities office manager Ana Fitzgerald and the landfill department has decided to take matters into their own hands and clean up the deserts that surround the town of Hawthorne.
A Hawthorne Community Desert Cleanup day has been scheduled for Oct. 11, in hopes of ridding some problem areas of trash and other debris that has been dumped just outside of town illegally.
Ever since the Hawthorne Landfill started charging a fee to use its dump on July 1, there has been an uptick of garbage piling up around some spots in the desert. Anything from tires, household items and even food has been spotted in the last few months below the landfill all the way up to Armory Rd. and other areas.
Fitzgerald said she hopes this event will bring some awareness to the problem that has been plaguing the desert for some time.
“There has always been dumping in the desert, it’s just gotten worse as of late,” she said. “We want people to have pride in their community, and do not want them to get worse.”
The dumping is taking place on both county and federal land. Desert dumping is illegal, and if caught dumpers could face a fine of $1,000 and/or six months in jail.
The landfill department has marked some of the spots that have been identified in green spray paint, but urges the public to report other areas that have yet to be spotted.
“If you see something, please let us know,” Fitzgerald said. “Some people have been aware of the issue for some time, but the hope is that this will bring public awareness to all the residents of Mineral County.”
Fitzgerald appeared before the Mineral County Board of Commissioners at the Sept. 3 meeting, and was approved for $500 from the county’s general funds for a barbecue after the event and t-shirts for those that volunteer.
She said she hopes to get at least 50 people for the event that starts at 8 a.m. and goes until noon.
For more information, contact Fitzgerald at 945-2486 or 316-2576.