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Ocean of tires in Kuwait can be seen from outer space

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 7th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A veritable ocean of tires dominates the Sulaibiya area in Kuwait City, Kuwait. The area, so vast that it holds seven million tires, can be seen from space. It's regrettable, as most nations have very strict rules about recycling rubber tires.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It's been averaged that a typical car tire will travel around 20,000 miles over its lifetime. While a new life awaits a tire in a western nation, in Kuwait, they are shipped to a massive tire graveyard.

Every year, gigantic holes are dug out in the sandy earth and filled with old tires.

The tires are from both from Kuwait and other countries. Nations have paid for them to be taken away. Four companies are currently in charge of the disposal of the tires - and are believed to be recompensed handsomely for their efforts.

In Britain and elsewhere, all car and truck tires must be recovered, recycled and reused.
 
Materials from properly recycled tires are used for a variety of uses including a children's playground, running tracks, artificial sports pitches, fuel for cement kilns, carpet underlay, equestrian arenas and flooring.

Tires can also be usefully recycled and re-purposed by the construction of modern engineered landfill sites and flood defenses. If waste tires are in good condition, they can be re-molded and put back on the road as "re-treads."

In the instance that tires are shipped out to countries such as India, Pakistan and Malaysia, there are strict laws about their exportation.

"While there is a legitimate export market for quality recyclable material, the illegal export of waste undermines law-abiding disposal and tire recovery businesses here in the UK and risks harming people and the environment in the country the waste is exported to," The Environment Agency says.

In addition, rubber roads were first built in the 1960s in the U.S., where today there are 20,000 miles of road made of recycled tires.

Rubber roads are also popular in China, Brazil, Spain and Germany. The technique has been found to cut traffic noise by about 25 percent.

There is a high cost for such flagrant waste of materials. Fire broke out in a Kuwait tire dump in April of last year. It's believed that around five million tires fueled the fire which specialists struggled to control. Hundreds of firefighters as well as soldiers and employees of the Kuwait Oil Company took part in the efforts to extinguish the blaze.

Describing the fire as an "environmental catastrophe," various MPs promised to send the matter to a debate in a special parliamentary decision.

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