There’s a seedy underbelly in Eastern Kentucky, hiding beneath the greenery and foliage of scenic and beautiful central Appalachia. Sometimes, especially this time of year, it’s hard to spot, hidden in the wilderness.
Despite the significant effort to solve the problem through orgainzations like PRIDE, there still exists numerous sites in Perry County, well beyond the beaten path, where local people opt to discard unwanted junk, building materials and pretty much everything that isn’t metal by dumping it.
There exists one site like this in Hardburly, just about a mile or so past the end of the official maintenance, that while not massive, has remained active now for several years. I know this because I first came across this small illegal dumpsite in 2006, and have included photos of it twice here in the Herald. I returned there again last week, expecting to find exactly what I found.
There, strewn along the ground amongst the weeds, were spent shingles, household garbage, shoes and other odd items tossed carelessly about where few people will ever see them.
But just because most people can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there, and that the dump exists at all is a massive shame.
This site in particular is mostly littered with household garbage that could have easily been hauled away had the owners thought better of their native lands and signed up for garbage collection. But instead, these people decided it would be better to haul this junk and dump it and forget about it. Out of sight, out of mind.
There exists another place, in the Fourseam community, where it is obvious that someone or some people think it easier to pull off on a side road and leave a mess behind. At this site there are discarded construction materials, burnt tires, beer bottles and the like. It appears more of a party spot than a dumpsite, but that will likely change, because there has already been some dumping there.
No doubt, across Perry County, and indeed across Eastern Kentucky, there are countless more sites where people have been more than happy to show their disrespect for this land, and it’s really infuriating at times.
For a small monthly fee, these same people can sign up for collection service, and magically, seemingly out of nowhere, other people will stop by their houses and haul their garbage away for them. In fact, it’s a startlingly simply concept that most people can grasp.
But it is sad to know that no matter how much some can work to lift up our area, there are always those others who are more than willing to themselves perpetuate the Appalachian stereotype. Being responsible with your garbage isn’t a difficult thing to do, and it’s inexpensive to boot. There is absolutely no reason that illegal dumping should continue, and I hope that at some point, when every government entity is no longer pinching pennies, that we can begin to again focus on this problem that so far refuses to be solved.