Kuwait announced on Sunday its intention to transform what was once a gigantic “tire graveyard” into a new residential city.
The 2 square kilometer (0.7 square mile) landfill in the oil-rich northern Gulf country was where the tires died – a total of over 40 million in the end.
Seventeen years of tire spills and three massive fires between 2012 and 2020 raised environmental concerns, prompting authorities to shut it down permanently.
“We have come from a difficult stage characterized by great environmental risk,” Oil Minister Mohammed al-Fares said at the now empty landfill some five kilometers (three miles) from Al-Jahra province.
“Today the area is clean and all tires have been removed to start the launch of the Saad Al-Abdullah city project. “
In recent months, trucks loaded with tires have made more than 44,000 trips from the landfill to the Al-Salmi area, near the Kuwait industrial zone, where Fares said they would be temporarily stored. .
He said the tires would be cut or reused for local use or for export, adding that the storage would meet “international standards … in case of fire.”
According to Sheikh Abdullah Al-Sabah, director general of the Public Environment Authority, Kuwait plans to recycle all tires and avoid the need for another landfill.
“There is already a factory today that reuses them, and we hope to find another manufacturer to help put an end to the tire problem,” he told AFP.
Alaa Hassan, head of EPSCO Global General Contracting, told AFP that his company extracts raw materials from tires, including elements used to pave roads and sidewalks.
She said EPSCO has the capacity to cut or reuse around two million tires per year, in cooperation with other factories.
© 2021 AFP