Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Opinion

May 7, 2013

Banned

Burning outside can bring hefty fine in Boyd, Lawrence

ASHLAND — If you live in Boyd and Lawrence counties and are thinking of burning trash, wood, leaves or other debris outdoors, here’s a word of advice: Don’t even think about lighting that match. If you do, it could cost you dearly.

Boyd and Lawrence are among eight Kentucky counties where outdoor burning has been restricted by the Kentucky Division for Air Quality. The other six counties are either in the Louisville metropolitan area (Jefferson, Bullitt and Oldham) or in northern Kentucky across the Ohio River from Cincinnati (Campbell, Boone and Kenton).

The Division for Air Quality said fires are major contributors to ozone pollution during warmer months. That’s why open burning is restricted in the eight counties  John Lyons, head of the Division for Air Quality, said have historically exceeded permissible ozone levels.

If you think burning banned materials outside in the eight counties is only a minor offense, think again. People could face fines of up to $25,000 per day for burning trash outdoors in those counties, Lyons said.

Lyons said burning trash that contains plastics and other synthetic materials can release high levels of toxic pollutants such as dioxins, lead and mercury. While not all trash poses such a threat to the environment, the smartest thing to do is to cease burning anything outside from May through September, when the restrictions are in place. There are other more environmentally friendly ways to get rid of unwanted debris.

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