Statistics of 2015 shows that no more than 11% of scrap tires produced in the United States ended up at landfills. The percentage might seem insignificant, however if we transform it into number, it means that 460 thousand tons of tires had been left as waste, revealed Rubber Manufacturers Association.
When we do not recycle tires, we start dealing with incredibly serious problems. The avoidance of tire recycling has now become so serious that a big number of countries have introduced special laws regulating tire disposal. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of cases of unsanctioned tire dumping and illegal storage. It signifies that the trend of neglecting tire recycling is still ongoing among our ignorant public.
Tire Recycling Helps Eliminate Fire Risk
The most striking feature of tire rubber is that it can be used as a fuel thanks to its great burning properties. However, this advantage can simultaneously be a disadvantage, as the risk of fire emerges with it. Given that even tire shreds are flammable, imagine, how devastating the effects of fire that emerges among massive amounts of whole scrap tires kept at one site may be, as non-recycled tires contain larger volumes of methane gas. The cases of extremely dangerous fires are not rare. Moreover, more and more media platforms, including Web Ecoist, Mental Floss and even our blog create material related to this subject.
Tires are known to have the capacity to keep on burning for months, or years in some instances. Sometimes the cleanup may last much longer than the actual fire. In 1983, Virginia witnessed The Rhinehart Tire Fire which transformed 7 million stockpiled tires into free-flowing tar which had detrimental effects for the soil and water. According to Web Ecoist, it took almost 20 years to remove catastrophic mess, which was caused by the fire.
Environmental Threats Arise When Tires are not Recycled
One of the tires’ component is synthetic rubber, which makes these products non-biodegradable. Thus, the special chemical makeup of tires is responsible for penetration of toxins into soil and groundwater. It has not been yet scientifically proven that tires sitting in piles leach exceedingly unsafe amounts of chemicals, including zinc oxide. However, it is undisputable that tire incineration is extremely dangerous for the environment. Thus, tire recycling should be preferred over the unsustainable method of tire burning.
In 1988, the German river, Rhine, had contained colossal amounts of zinc because of the burning of tires, reported California Integrated Waste Management Board. In addition, incineration of tires can pose severe risk to human health, as they release chemicals that can lead to cancer and mutations.
Scrap Tires and Mosquito-Borne Diseases
The most hidden threat of tire recycling avoidance is spread of diseases. The actual tires do not cause these infections, but they come as a result of special conditions that emerge inside the waste: tires are often used by mosquitos as a favored breeding place because stagnant water accumulates inside after rainstorms, and this creates perfect conditions for these insects to lay eggs in. After 14 days since breeding, a new mosquito will be fully developed and ready to start sucking human blood and spread serious diseases.
The most deadly mosquito-borne disease known in history is malaria. Even now, hundreds of millions cases are reported in the world each year. Luckily, developed countries do not suffer from it anymore thanks to availability of efficient treatment. Mosquitos spread such viruses as Chikungunya, Dengue and Yellow Fever, however they are not common for the US and developed states.
The US population has been affected by at least four different strains of encephalitis that can not be treated due to the lack of vaccines: Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE), LaCrosse Encephalitis (LAC), and Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE). Since 1997, no cases of SLE have been identified. However, LAC can pose real danger, as approximately 90 cases are reported annually in eastern states; the disease is particularly dangerous for kids, and can even have fatal consequences. WEE does not occur frequently. But EEE poses the greatest danger – the virus targets the central nervous system, which may lead to permanent brain damage, comas, and death.
West Nile Virus is the significantly more dangerous than any form of encephalitis, and no cure has been found. It is almost undistinguishable from the flu during mild cases, but it may take up to one month to get rid of all symptoms. Extremely serious incidents have detrimental effect on the nervous system.
Since 1999, there has been more than 36 000 incidents of the disease; 50 percent of the victims later developed more serious forms of meningitis or encephalitis, and 1,538 victims had been killed by the disease.
US Geological Survey show that these figures represent only the reported cases: the milder form resembles viral infections, thus according to the CDC estimates, 1.5 million is a real number of victims. In 2016 only, 2,039 cases had been reported.
First cases of Zika have been reported in the ‘40s predominantly in Africa. However, in 2014 it has reached South America in 2014, and gained catastrophic weight in the spring of 2016 (Source: AMCA). Zika is often underreported due to its symptoms resembling the flu; the only difference is that they last longer.
Zika is extremely dangerous for pregnant women, as it has harmful effect not only on a woman, but on a fetus as well. Once the baby is born, there is a huge risk that it will be diagnosed with microcephaly, which damages the brain.
Zika is often connected to Guillian-Barré, a disease damaging nerve and leading to muscle weakness, paralysis and even death. The continental US does not witness the cases of the condition often, but the US territories in the Caribbean have witnessed approximately 600 incidents.
The simplest way to prevent and fight these diseases spread by mosquitos is to practice tire recycling. If you want to bring to an end disturbing tire fires, soil and water contamination, and mosquito-borne viruses, you can find effective solutions at ECO Green. Get in touch with our experts and find out more about the ways how you can use tire-recycling for your business.
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