Discarded tires pose significant hazard to environment

From time to time, we publish notices in The Mining Journal about collecting and disposing of old tires. We do this as a community service but suspect a great many well-intentioned people read right over the top of such notices without fully considering the issue carefully.

Old tires, it seems, are among the dirtiest, most destructive item that is commonly thrown out.

According to the group EcoGreen, the biggest single problem with discarding old tires is that they contain chemicals and heavy metals that leach into the environment as the tires break down. Some of these chemicals, according experts, are carcinogenic and mutagenic, meaning they can cause cancer and gene mutations.

Additionally, the hollow middle of a tire will easily fill up with rainwater if the tire is just left out in the open. If the tire is left undisturbed, the water will sit in the tire and become a breeding ground for pests such as mosquitoes.

Some disposal sites try to get rid of old tires by burning them by open or controlled combustion. These process not only release harmful chemicals into the air, but they are also extremely dangerous.

Another negative effect of throwing tires away is, simply, that they take up space in landfills. Whenever we can keep any kind of material from our landfills, we are doing well for the environment.

According to the EPA, 38 states have banned the disposal of whole tires in landfills. Eleven of those states ban all tires–whole or shredded–from the landfills. Eleven states have no restrictions whatsoever on the disposal of tires. So, many states all around the country are trying to tackle this problem.

The Marquette County Solid Waste Management Authority has received a Scrap Tire Cleanup Grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. They will be at the compost/rubbish site located at 1415 Pioneer Road from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday for collection.

All Marquette County residents may bring up to 10 tires at a time.

Please call the MCSWMA at 906-249-4125 for more information on this valuable disposal option.


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