NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 26, 2006

Off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 2 million old tires are pounding into reefs, destroying the ecosystem and littering the shoreline.  It's an environmentalist catastrophe, says Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center.

  • Do-gooders launched this project back in 1972 to save the oceans, spawn fish and rid the Earth of mountains of tires that posed health and fire hazards.
  • The Washington Post estimates it would take three years and cost $3 million to $5 million just to clean up this one error.

The tire reefs are just one more example, says Gainor:

  • The first ones appeared in the 1950s, but the idea caught on as used tires were increasingly seen as an environmental problem.
  • According to the Atlantic and Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, "throughout the 1970s and into the early 1980s millions of unballasted tires were systematically placed" off the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.
  • Those are the exact kind causing havoc off the coast of Florida.

The Fisheries Commission explained that "most coastal states have restricted or formally banned tire use in artificial reefs" because of all the problems.  Fortunately, technological innovation created a market for recycled tires and helped stop the environmentalists, says Gainor.

A Huntington Beach fishing club spokesman was quoted by the Los Angeles Times in 1986 after another failed artificial reef littered the shore with tires.  He explained, "The road to hell is paved with our good intentions -- and our tires."

Source: Dan Gainor, "Tire reef grief," Washington Times, October 26, 2006.


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