Litter from fireworks can cause big trouble for Lubbock County farmers

Litter from fireworks can cause big trouble for Lubbock County farmers
Muniz
Muniz
Menaldi
Menaldi
Delacruz
Delacruz

LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX (KCBD) - Some Lubbock County residents are not waiting until July Fourth to light their fireworks. In the past five days, Lubbock police have received 81 fireworks-related calls.

However, the noise is not all that residents are complaining about after a fireworks display.

Jo Muniz has worked for Fred Jones' Farms for about 28 years now and every year litter from fireworks ends up in their cotton fields.

"What's on the edge of the county property, the county will pick up," he said, "but what they put in the field the county won't touch, and it's something we have for the rest of the year. It will get stuck in the row units of the stripper and it makes the cotton fall on the ground, and we lose money when it falls out."

Just across the street is the supplier: Wholesale Fireworks. After running this fireworks stand for about 10 years, Sonni Menaldi has mastered a cleanup method

"We put a little bit of water on it just to make sure it cools down quickly and as soon as that happens, you run out of any issue of burning yourself," she said. "Then after you know it's cooled down, just put it back in however you brought it."

Firework litter prevention can even be a part of the selection process when customers shop at a stand.

"With our Roman Candles, this is going to be easy clean up type stuff," Menaldi said, "because when you light it, most people hold it and it's just the tube."

Sonni's coworker, Manuel Delacruz, knows all too well the mess fireworks can leave behind.

"You can see the grass here," Delacruz said, motioning a lot across the street of their stand. "July 5th? You won't see no grass. You'll see a bunch of paper and trash."

As a TxDOT employee, Delacruz usually has had to deal with the celebration aftermath.

"We have to come by and pick up all that trash," he said, "and that takes away from employees who can be doing potholes, doing edge repairs or something like that."

This no small feat, Delacruz said, and it costs taxpayers' dollars.

"We come out here in these big, one-ton trucks with a lot of trash bags and we fill it up," he said, "and we fill them up so high with trash we have to take multiple trips back to our yard just to get rid of the trash."

Delacruz makes sure customers leave their stand knowing how to take pride in the land they are celebrating.

"Go out there and have fun," he said. "Enjoy July Fourth, just remember there's people there picking up the trash after you, and like the saying goes, 'pick up after yourself."

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