Furthermore, uncontrolled tyre burning has been proven to be 16 times more mutagenic, meaning capable of inducing genetic mutation, than traditional residential wood combustion in a fireplace, and 13,000 times more mutagenic than coal-fired utility emissions with good combustion efficiency and add-on controls.

The world, as usual, will celebrate World Environment Day on June 5, 2019. In what has become the norm around the world, environmental conscious organisations will b eat the forefront of sensitizing and advocating for a better environment. The question is, Has there been any significant change in environmental behavior among people, especially in developing nations?

This year theme is Air-Pollution. How can we all fight against air-pollution and make the environment a safer place for all to live and breathe. Truth is, we can’t live without breathing and if we can’t control how we breathe, we should control what we breathe. We decided to look into tyre burning, a common environmental abuse in developing nations like Nigeria.

Tyre burning serves many purpose, from it being a rioting tool, to being a necessary tool to set fire on forest or in some cases, burning it to extract oil using an uncontrolled procedure. All these process creates pollution and endangers earthly inhabitant. In some rare case, tyres are burnt as the primary source of energy for kilns.

Burning of tyres and other rubber materials as a primary source of energy for kilns is particularly concerning.  In other areas of the world, like India, where the concerns lie in the harmful effects of coal-fired kilns, areas like Morocco and other North African countries are dealing with harmful impacts of tyre burning.

While burning tyres does provide an efficient source of energy, the harmful effects of such burning far exceed the benefits.

Scrap tyres are used as a supplement to traditional fuels such as coal or wood fuel because of their high heating value.

Typically, for each pound of scrap tyre rubber burned it equates to 15,000 BTUs of energy and a single tyre can burn for up to 50 minutes.  This equates to 25 percent more energy being produced than coal.

Regardless of the efficiency, the fumes that are being released from tyre burning have been shown to be extremely toxic to human health and harmful to the environment.

Dangers to Public Health

Open tyre fire emissions include “criteria”pollutants, such as particulates, carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur oxides (SOx), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They also include “non-criteria” hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), such as polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs),dioxins, furans, hydrogen chloride, benzene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); and metals such as cadmium, nickel, zinc, mercury, chromium, and vanadium.

Both criteria and non-criteria pollutants can cause significant short and long term health effects.  Depending on the length and degree of exposure, these health effects could include irritation of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes, respiratory effects, central nervous system depression, and cancer.  The EPA suggests that any unprotected exposure to these emissions be avoided.

Furthermore, uncontrolled tyre burning has been proven to be 16 times more mutagenic, meaning capable of inducing genetic mutation, than traditional residential wood combustion in a fireplace, and 13,000 times more mutagenic than coal-fired utility emissions with good combustion efficiency and add-on controls.

Especially troubling is the exposure that children living within these communities are inadvertently being subjected to. Children, foetuses, nursing babies, elderly, asthmatics, and immune suppressed individuals are all much more vulnerable to the pollutants released burning tyres.

Even a nursing woman can transfer the pollution she inhales to a baby through the fat in her breast milk.  During breast-feeding, infants are exposed to higher concentrations of organic pollutants than at any subsequent time in their lives. Burning tyres only adds to that toxic burden.

Saving money on fuel by burning tyres should not take precedence over public health. Unfortunately, in small villages and other underdeveloped areas where tyre burning kilns sustain much of the local economy, exposure to these toxins is inevitable with the current practices being employed.

Huge Environmental Costs

In addition to the negative effects tyre burning has on the health of humans, it also has environmental costs that have not yet been discussed. The three main effects tyre burning has on the environment is air, water, and soil pollution.   The airborne pollution caused from the tyre burning kilns is significant.  The black fumes contain heavy metals and other harmful pollutants that linger in the air and can lead to acute to chronic health hazards.

In terms of water and soil pollution, according to the EPA,

“for every million tyres consumed by fire, about 55,000 gallons of runoff oil can pollute the environment unless contained and collected”.

If uncontrolled, this runoff can then be carried away by rainwater to local water sources contaminating them.  Additionally, the remaining residue can cause two types of pollution; these are immediate pollution by liquid decomposition products penetrating soil, and gradual pollution from leaching of ash and unburned residues following rainfall or other water entry.

Credit: Western Tyre Recyclers

While the burning of tyres is not considered recycling, there is an argument regarding whether it is worse to landfill tyres or reuse them to recover energy.  While even in the United States the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes that the use of tyre-derived fuels is a viable alternative to the use of fossil fuels, there are other factors that need to be considered.

For instance, in more developed areas of the world, regulations are in place such as the Clean Air Act which minimizes the amount of emissions being released by businesses as well as the fact that technology exists that can help clean and filter the emissions before they are released into the air.

On the other hand, in less developed areas of the world, environmental regulations and technology of this magnitude may not exist thus,exposing those citizens to more of the environmental and health related effects of uncontrolled tyre burning.

While many factors contribute to either argument, all in all this particularly issue is under examined and results in the impairment of health and the safety of entire communities in the developing world.

Pearl Recycling Waste Remodeling Initiative

However at Pearl Recycling, we see discarded tyres as useful resources in championing the circular economy mandate. Tyres are non-biodegradable, making them long lasting and resistant to termite invasion. They are flexible to work with and can be design to fit many purposes. They can serve as indoor or outdoor furniture, agricultural landscape and can be broken down into tiny particles and reconstructed into different designs. There is no  limit to what we can get out of tyres except, of course, there is a limit to our own innovative thinking.

Some of our products, designed from tyres can be seen below.


Do you want to join, volunteer, support or collaborate with us as we celebrate World Environment Day 2019? Kindly click on this link WED2019

Do you want to donate to our cause of making the world safer to live in? Clink on this link DONATE

Contributing Source: EcoMena



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