Mexico Gains Traction in Battle against Tire Dumps
MONTERREY, Mexico Mexico is making headway in a battle to remove mountains of used tires from eyesore dumps on the U.S. border, regarded as fire risks and breeding grounds for disease, authorities said Wednesday.
The environment ministry said around 2.3 million used car, truck and bus tires had been removed from seven dumps along the 2000-mile border since June 2004 as part of a binational effort to clear up the frontier.
The project, which operates in tandem with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, removed treads from six dumps near Tijuana and Mexicali, south of California, and one in Ciudad Juarez, over the border from El Paso, Texas.
"These steps have avoided pollution from fires and the proliferation of sites of infection," Mexican undersecretary for environmental standards Jose Ramon Adarvin said.
Mexican drivers discard up to 18 million tires each year, according to government estimates, while many more used tires are imported from the United States by Mexican dealers called "llanteros."
Several dumps have caught fire in recent years, including one in Mexicali, south of Calexico, California, that blazed for three days in 2003, casting a pall of toxic smoke over the surrounding area before being brought under control.
Adarvin said the Environment Ministry had cleared 1.3 million tires from the dumps since the middle of last year, while companies including world No. 3 cement maker Cemex recycled a further 1 million.
Monterrey-based Cemex is conducting a pilot project in which it uses ground-up tires to resurface roads in Tijuana, south of San Diego, California, and in San Pedro Garcia, in northeastern Nuevo Leon state.