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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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RELEASE: 3/13/01
CONTACT: Sharon A. Southard or Amy Collings
609-984-1795 or 609-292-2994


Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Shinn today presented a $207,469 check to Ocean County officials to reduce the mosquito population as part of a statewide effort to combat the West Nile virus.

The money is part of a $2.4 million state grant program to help counties clean-up scrap tires which serve as excellent breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Shinn presented the check to Freeholder Director John P. Kelly in the Ocean County administration building.

Acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco said, "Working together, state and local government can effectively address the serious problem of mosquito breeding grounds such as the millions of discarded tires that are currently laying around the state. I applaud the work done by the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Health and Senior Services in fighting the spread of the West Nile virus, and am committed to supporting this worthwhile program."

"One of our strongest defenses in combating the West Nile virus is prevention. The reckless discarding of scrap tires on the state's roadsides, parks, vacant lots and open spaces compounds this problem. Just one tire can serve as a breeding ground for thousands of mosquitoes," Shinn said.

Additionally, Shinn cited Ocean County as having an aggressive scrap tire management program and said the county has a high degree of initiative regarding environmental management. He noted that it has implemented several successful recycling initiatives over the last several years including a recycling revenue sharing program where municipal recycling programs receive a share of the profits from county recycling program to improve recycling projects. He also noted the county has been progressive in other areas by awarding grants to municipalities to upgrade recycling efforts.

"I was pleased to learn that almost 76,000 tons of mixed paper generated by county residents and businesses were recycled last year and that Ocean County-funded resource recovery programs recycled over 517,000 tons of material including tires, wood, metal, paper, bottles and cans," Shinn said. "The success of Ocean's recycling programs shows us that Ocean's residents and officials have stepped up to the plate and are using these initiatives to properly dispose of waste materials thereby helping to create a healthier, cleaner, safer environment for us all."

Ocean County is the third to receive a tire-recycling grant for scrap tire collection and recycling. The funding is based on the Clean Communities Program formula for road miles since abandoned tires are a form of litter. Ocean County has 581 road miles which entitles it to 8.64% of the funding available thereby giving it the largest grant amount among the state's 21 counties.

According to Shinn, the county's tire recycling grant represents just one aspect of the state's tire clean-up program. DEP, he says, is working with other state agencies on a program to clean up the two dozen so-called "orphan tire dumps" around the state that have existed for 30 years.

The state unveiled its 2001 West Nile virus plan last month. The comprehensive plan will include enhanced mosquito control activities and increased human, animal and mosquito surveillance and testing so those working to control the virus will be able to more effectively determine its intensity, geographic spread and impact. The plan also includes a public education campaign to take personal protective measures during the mosquito season.

To support the expanded effort, $2.5 million has been proposed in the FY2002 budget to heighten the state's ability to track and control the virus. The state has also applied for a $2 million grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Shinn reaffirmed the department's commitment not only to the tire round up program but to recycling in general throughout the state.

"We must work together to find ways to provide long-term support for New Jersey's recycling community. We must all step up our efforts to encourage the purchase of recycled products at home, at work and in schools and find ways to financially sustain recycling now and in the future."


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