Due to rising temperatures, there is an increase in tyre bursts and subsequent road accidents in the Sultanate of Oman. Used tyres are seen piled up near replacement shops and adjacent areas. They need to be appropriately disposed of because improper disposal distorts the city's appearance and poses serious health and environmental risks.
According to an environmental expert, the danger lies in the accumulation of tyres in one location, as they can be susceptible to fire, causing environmental and health problems. It is crucial to ensure high levels of safety, particularly in industrial zones, and strengthen oversight to monitor transportation and ensure proper disposal methods.
Tyre accumulation sites attract rodents and insects, adding to the burden faced by authorities responsible for combating pests. Some individuals resort to burning tyres, releasing harmful fumes and gases that pollute the air and affect its quality, the expert warned.
Officially, the Muscat Municipality has issued a guideline emphasising the responsibility of building owners to maintain cleanliness and dispose of waste properly. Specific regulations prohibit owners of auto tyre repair services, workshops, and laundry shops from discharging oils, liquids, or waste resulting from their activities onto the floors. They are required to transport such waste to designated sites.
The problem of accumulating damaged car tyres continues to worsen, necessitating the implementation of various measures and programmes to regulate such waste. Environmental studies indicate that car tyres can be recycled, with materials repurposed as fuel oil or used to make flooring for industrial playgrounds and tiles for homes and public gardens. Adopting these waste management policies may present new opportunities for companies operating in this sector rather than resorting to indiscriminate dumping or burning in open areas.
Globally, over one billion car tyres are consumed annually, with approximately 60 per cent disposed of through burning for energy generation in factories or by being buried or dumped into bodies of water and open spaces. This poses a threat to the environment and human health, as the increasing quantities of used and damaged car tyres contribute significantly to pollution and waste of natural resources.
Environmentalists raise concerns over the issue. Traditional treatment methods resulted in complex problems, including severe damage to humans and the environment. Experts call for the development of environmentally friendly strategies and innovative ideas to recycle the growing volume of damaged tyres.
At the national level, in April 2023, the Environment Authority halted the issuance of licenses to export waste tyres. This initiative reflects government efforts to find practical solutions for the environmentally sound management of this waste. The move is expected to help bridge the operational deficit of national waste treatment facilities. Data from the Environment Authority reveals that annual used tyre production in the Sultanate of Oman exceeds 40,000 tonnes, while national treatment facilities currently handle over 20,000 tonnes annually. Proper waste management will contribute to industrial and economic development, support local industries, create employment opportunities for the national workforce, and ensure the preservation of human health, the environment, and natural resources.
TEXT& PHOTOS BY: YAHYA AL SALMANI