BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The East Baton Rouge Parish Mosquito and Rodent Control Board (MARC) approved Baum Environment Group (Baum) to manage a forthcoming tire shredder aimed at lowering mosquito populations in the parish. No board members present at the meeting opposed entering the agreement.
Money for the shredder comes from a $605,000 grant awarded through the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) through a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Because water pooled on the inside of abandoned, heat-retaining tires create a breeding ground for mosquitoes, the CDC hypothesizes adding a shredder will, in turn, lower the number of mosquitos and the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.
Under the agreement, MARC will work to purchase a shredder and secure a location along with LDH and city-parish officials. Baum Environment Group will manage the shredder with no costs to the parish. Baum will retain the materials left after the tires have been shredded.
“It not only helps reduce illnesses in the area, it helps fight blight and encourages better behavior out of citizens. Any citizen can, at no charge, can drop off the tires and we will process them immediately,” said Diane Baum, CEO of Baum Environmental.
Baum anticipates hiring around 14 to 15 employees to operate the shredder and transport the tires. Pay for the job is expected to be about $45,000.
Because the grant is a state grant, there is the potential for the shredder to shred tires brought from outside of East Baton Rouge Parish. However, testing will need to happen before those tires are brought into the parish so foreign mosquito species aren’t brought into the parish.
The tire shredding facility was set to be located on Progress Road near the Baton Rouge Airport, an area in Councilwoman Chauna Banks’ district. She tells WAFB’s Donovan Jackson she plans to file a lawsuit in opposition of the proposed location.