By Michele RobertsonIt’s no surprise that illegal dumping is an ongoing issue for Eddy County, but the extent of the trash out there is astounding. If you’ve driven the roads going into and out of Carlsbad you know what this article is talking about. Longtime resident Bill Garwood has had enough and is waging a one-man war against all that trash. Garwood retired from the Carlsbad Caverns as an electrician and elevator mechanic in 2012. The Caverns were declareda World Heritage Site in 1995and bringin individuals and families from all over the globe. These visitors drive the same roads Garwood drives, and has for decades. Over the past 10-15 years,Garwood has watched the trash on our roadways get worse and worse. “We invite people from all over the place and they come here and we look like slobs,” he shared. Our roads are the Gateways to the Guadalupes. “You can travel any road and see piles of trash.” Garwood scopes out areas that need attention and focuses on hauling the big stuff out. The thousands of bottles and cans he sees along the way will have to wait for another day. Among the many illegally dumped items Garwood has found recently are seven semi tires on Bounds road, washers, dryers,TV’s, household trash, more tires, coolers, tarps, ripped open bags of trash, pallets, even a toilet one time. Garwood is a man of action, he has concerns and issues, but also ideas and solutions. One of those ideas is to utilize social media more for reporting illegal dumping. “You are always able to see the trash, and there are so many bottles. Most roads and areas could use several attempts to clean up,” Garwood said.“If something isn’t done about Hidalgo Road, what is it going to look like in five years?” asked Garwood. “It makes you sick to see all the trash. It’s going to take everyone pulling together on this,” pleads Garwood. “Our riverbanks were loaded with people this summer because of COVID. Theaters and many options for recreation were closed, and our river took a beating,” he said. Jeri Strong, Public Information Officer for Eddy County shares what the county has going on to help prevent illegal dumping. “Eddy County has recently added automatic gates to the convenience stations located in Happy Valley, Derrick Rd, and Fairgrounds Rd in Artesia. These automatic gates open at 6:00 am and close at 6:00 pm, allowing citizens to take their trash before or after work. The County has also implemented a new grappler service that citizens can call, or submit online for trash pick-up,” said Strong.If citizens see illegal dumping in progress, they should call Eddy County Code Enforcement at 575-887-9511. If there is an area that needs attention, citizens can call the new Public Works Department grappler service at 575-885-4835, or submit a request for pick up on the Public Works page at www.EddyCounty.org
There are many locations within Eddy County for citizens to take their trash:●City of Artesia transfer station, 2507 Pecos Ave.●Corner of Fairgrounds/13thSt convenience station in Artesia, open 6a-6p●City of Carlsbad Solid Waste convenience station, 301 E. Plaza●Happy Valley convenience station, Happy Valley Road across from shooting range, open 6a-6p●Eddy County convenience station, 410 E.Derrick Rd, open 6a-6p●Loving transfer station, 45 Higby Hole Rd, Loving●Sandpoint Landfill, 164 Landfill Rd, CarlsbadMary Garwood, Keep Carlsbad Beautiful (KCB) Executive Director & Solid Waste Code Enforcement Officer (and also Mr. Garwood’s daughter) shares initiatives the City of Carlsbad is involved with. “The City of Carlsbad has bought in to the national Keep America Beautiful by having its own affiliate in the Keep Carlsbad Beautiful program, which year round does community outreach and education through clean-up events such as Riverblitz, Six Mile Dam Clean-Ups, contracting non-profit groups to pick-up litter, and conducts other outreaches using social media, newspaper advertisements, radio appearances, and public presentations with local groups (Rotary, Lions Club, etc.),” shares Mary.“The focus of Keep Carlsbad Beautiful is to beautify communities, end litter, and improve recycling. We partner with Eddy County and others for Riverblitz, Household Hazardous Waste Days (twice a year), Queen Up the Guads, Solid Waste education and outreach for all of Eddy County areas, and try to find niches in the community to promote litter free events,” Mary shared.For the year 2020, KCB reports a best weight of 11.2 tons (22,400 lbs) of material collected. This onlyincludes clean-up totals from Riverblitz in March and October, 6-mile dam clean-up for National Public Lands Day, Queen up the Guads, summer work with lifeguards collecting along the riverbanks, and the Boyd Drive and Derrick Road pick-ups.While Riverblitz focuses on our waterways, a recent clean-up in the Guadalupe Mountains, Queen up the Guads brought attention to some of the other parts of our area that need attention. “I couldn’t believe all the cans andbottles under bushes and such. You couldn’t see the trash from the road, but once you got out there with grabbers you could see how bad it really was,” shared Garwood. “It’s nice to go up into the Guads, it isn’t too bad, but it isn’t pristine either.” More? Like the City of Carlsbad NM Government and Keep Carlsbad Beautiful-FB AND Instagram pages. Mary’s contact information is: 575.302.7665 and email at firstname.lastname@example.org
City resources to call include: If in the City limits, please call and report to our 311 system. Call 311-from a Landline Phone OR (575) 887-1200-from a Cell Phone OR visit www.egovlink.com/carlsbadTips-be careful not to pick up needles, broken glass, or hazardous materials. You can contact the City or Mary to report any of these and we will see to it that they are properly and safely removed. Also, simply BAGGING YOUR TRASH would be greatly appreciated with our New Mexico wind!