Social Media on fire with viral Kuwaiti tyre dump comments.
Kuwaiti Tyre Fire in the News
Tyre recycling is the centre of attention in the Twittersphere this morning as the result of a post by UK-based TV journalist Julia Bradbury, who posted a video of a Kuwaiti tyre fire with the comment; “This is how they are handling tyre waste in Kuwait”. Not surprisingly, the video met with a plethora of concerned responses from members of the public, and indeed it is helpful that the subject of tyre waste, which often receives little in the way of public response unless it is in their back garden, has received such publicity.
However, the first point that must be made here is that Kuwait is not deliberately polluting the atmosphere by setting fire to a used tyre dump.
The fact is that, like most countries, tyre disposal was historically carried out via landfill – that was as true in the UK as it is in now Kuwait – or most Gulf states, and certainly across Africa and South America. Tyre dumps remain the norm in much of the world.
And where there are tyre dumps, there are invariably tyre fires, almost always in dump sites caused by arson. London Fire Brigade have been trying to get tyres to spontaneously combust without success despite trying very hard. They need an outside source of ignition.
Kuwait, like other wealthy Gulf states, is indeed trailing in its approach to recycling, and as a result has huge tyre dumps, as does Oman, and other states. However, Kuwait Environment Public Authority IS dealing with the issue of the tyre dumps. It only recently relocated one dump to a location where it is setting up a series of five recycling plants.
Perhaps it would now be useful to make use of this welcome display of public interest to raise awareness of how waste tyres are treated in the UK, and what happens to them once the around 200,000 tons a year get exported to Pakistan and India. Where, for example, was the public outcry at the Heyope fire that burned for 15 years or more, or the Bradford tyre fire in the middle of a UK city, or any of the others we have had?
Now is the time for people to wake up and ask questions about their waste and to get a firm grip on the issue of tyre waste, both in the UK and across the globe.