Area residents joined state Sen. Patricia Ritchie to “Fight the Bite” Saturday May 17 by disposing of more than 5,600 tires at free waste tire disposal events taking place throughout Oswego County.
The total is nearly three times more tires than were collected at similar events last year.
Studies have shown that one waste tire can act as breeding ground for one million mosquitoes, which carry deadly diseases like EEE and West Nile.
Saturday’s free disposal event marks the first of two being hosted by Ritchie and Oswego County. The second will take place June 14.
The free tire disposal events — which allow residents to drop off up to eight waste tires with the $5 fee being waived — are being made possible through $275,000 in the new state budget to support efforts to stop the spread of Eastern equine encephalitis, the mosquito-borne illness commonly known as EEE.
During a three-year period, $700,000 in additional state budget funds has been secured for EEE prevention.
“Oswego County is a hotbed for diseases like EEE, and I’m thrilled that so many people joined me Saturday and took a step to protect themselves and their loved ones from mosquitoes and the dangers that they present,” Ritchie said.
“Disposing of waste tires is just one way to reduce the risk of contracting mosquito borne illnesses. We need to remain vigilant as we fight the bite, and I encourage people to visit my website for tips on how to best protect themselves.”
In addition to the free tire disposal events, funding also will make possible a number of other initiatives, including programs to educate children and families about the dangers of EEE, a low-cost vaccination program for horses, which are particularly susceptible to EEE, funding for a new workgroup tasked with developing vaccines against diseases like EEE and additional mosquito-control efforts.