Local Authorities Raise Concerns Over The Illegal Disposal Of Trash And Hazardous Waste In Florida

Authorities in the Florida Keys are issuing a stern reminder to both tourists and locals about the serious consequences of illegally disposing of garbage and dangerous substances on the streets. Not only is this behavior against the law, but it also poses a significant risk to the delicate ecosystem.

“The impact on wildlife and water can be harmful,” stated Cheryl Sullivan, the director of Solid Waste Management in Monroe County. The Keys are surrounded by water, making it inevitable for anything that enters the ground to eventually find its way into the water.

There has been a series of illegal dumping cases in the Lower Keys, prompting this warning.

Recently, authorities reported that two individuals from South Florida disposed of a significant container containing “liquid hazardous waste and oil” in Big Pine Key, a habitat for endangered Key Deer.

Jorge Alejandro Newbery, 62, of Big Pine Key, and Maikel Ramos Jimenez, 36, of Hialeah, were arrested on January 11 and are now facing felony charges, as reported by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. The men insisted that the container fell accidentally, according to Sheriff Rick Ramsay, but they failed to notify the authorities.

Sullivan mentioned that the polluted dirt and gravel will need to be removed, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is conducting an investigation as well.

“Accidents occur, but it is important to take responsibility for them,” she stated.

Newbery was arrested once more after a Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC) officer identified him from a derelict vessel case, according to records. According to a report, the boat was found docked without permission and was in a state of despair. It was described as having “marine growth and red/brown water from rust.”

Monroe County offers various opportunities and resources for residents and businesses to safely dispose of debris, unused electronics, and household hazardous waste, according to Sullivan. Unincorporated Monroe County and Key West boast three transfer stations, along with a variety of collection sites throughout the Keys. These locations are available to accept electronics and household hazardous waste monthly.