CHARLESTON, S.C. — WHAT do you do with tons of debris from a mega-hurricane? Tens of thousands of blown-down trees, hundreds of tin roofs crumpled as if by a giant hand, and piles of what now is simply junk line curbs all over Charleston. What happens to it?
Nobody knows, yet. In the past Charleston hauled the downed trees of lesser storms to a remote corner of nearby Francis Marion National Forest, says Peatsy Hollings, wife of US Sen. Ernest Hollings.
But not this time. Hugo also blew down half the trees in the forest. It, too, needs to be cleaned up - perhaps harvested for lumber - before anyone can add uncountable tons of incoming debris. Torrential rain fell on residents trying to clean up Hugo's wreckage, and trees left leaning by the hurricane leaned farther or fell because of saturated soil.
And even the back acres of a sprawling national forest may be too small this time.
Here and there, dump trucks are beginning to haul debris from Charleston's streets, and whining choppers grind up stacked branches. But the broad question remains: What do you do with all the garbage a hurricane leaves behind?