- Associated Press - Sunday, November 22, 2015

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Disused tires collect water and give mosquitoes a breeding ground, which Hawaii County is trying to reduce amid a dengue fever outbreak by offering free recycling.

Residents were concerned recycling tires was cost-prohibitive for some and that improper disposal methods were being used by others, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported (https://bit.ly/1OmjMOT). In response, the county last week started accepting tires for free at all 22 of its waste recycling and transfer centers.

Health officials have said tires are partially responsible for the spread of dengue fever.

Tire recycling opened up near two areas identified as likely spots where individuals were infected. Department of Environmental Management Director Bobby Jean Leithead Todd said all transfer stations got involved once it started to look like the disease was gaining a foothold in certain areas.

“We’re accepting tires from residential customers,” she said Friday. “This is an extraordinary situation, so the county is trying to do everything we can to help.”

Leithead Todd said in a week, 320 tires were collected at a single transfer station.

“We were a little surprised,” she said.

Hawaii County didn’t previously accept tires at all and residents had to pay private recyclers a fee, typically about $5 per tire.

Groups or individuals looking to recycle large numbers of tires should work with Leithead Todd’s department to make arrangements.

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Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/

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