Updated Tue, Jan 17, 2012 11:51 am
The Athens sheriff says more than 11,000 tires have been collected so far as part of a grant that allows residents to drop off old tires free of charge.
The sheriff's office secured the grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in June of last year and set a goal of collecting more than 20,000 tires by June 2012.
Sheriff Pat Kelly says he decided to be a part of the initiative because he feels the environment is important.
"Over the past decades, nobody took this responsibility on and when I took office I said I was going to deal with the environment and that's what we've done," says Kelly.
Kelly says he is proud of the environmental program in place to keep Athens County clean and hopes residents help keep it that way.
"I just ask that people help us keep Athens County clean because when those tires are laying out and collecting water, then mosquitoes breed and that's where the West Nile Virus and other virus come from. So, not only are we keeping our county clean, we're keeping it environmentally safe too," says Kelly.
Kelly says the collected tires are transported by a company in Akron and recycled in order to be used on playgrounds and high school tracks.
He says the next drop off location will be in Waterloo Township next weekend.