Tires in the desert

Old airplanes aren’t the only things that get stored in large numbers out in the huge deserts of the southern United States. So too do millions of used automobile tires.

A company called Envirotech collected them for ten years and stored them in part of the Sonoran Desert National Monument. The idea was to recycle them into fuel. Unfortunately for the company, the state of Arizona decided to shut them down for multiple fire code violations. These include obstructed fire roads and an on-site fire-protection water system that didn’t meet minimum requirements. Unfortunately for everyone else, if ignited, the piles could “burn unhindered for over ten years” according to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.

All told, about three billion used tires are stockpiled across the United States. All the more reason to hope that a microorganism eventually emerges that can metabolize vulcanized rubber.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

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