Millions of tires were set ablaze at a junkyard earlier this week, sending a thick black smoke of chemicals up into the atmosphere and hundreds of gallons of oil into the soil. Hundreds of firefighters were deployed to put out the tire fire which some members of parliament are calling an environmental disaster.
The Daily Star reports that firefighters from the national guard, the army, and the oil sector were called in to put out the tire fire. According to the Kuwait fire department, at least five million tires were set ablaze in the junkyard.
According to the EPA, a tire fire can become a “major hazardous incident” that affects the entire community. The EPA writes:
“(When) a tire fire occurs, tires break down into hazardous compounds including gases, heavy metals, and oil. The average passenger car tire is estimated to produce over two gallons of oil when burned. Oil that exudes into ground and surface water as a result of tire fires is a significant environment pollutant… Air pollution is also produced by tire fires. Air emissions may include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), benzene, styrene, phenols, and butadiene.”
Residents in the area have been advised to stay away from the tire fire and to make sure to wear masks. A number of MPs are calling for stricter legislation surrounding tire fires and some are demanding an official probe into the incident.
Here’s a video of the Kuwait catastrophe.