Old, discarded vehicle tires might not have the get up and go they used to, but if we don’t properly dispose of them they operate just fine when it comes to aiding and accelerating the growth of the mosquito population.
Tires are ideal breeding sites for several species of mosquitoes that could carry diseases such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya. They collect leaves and easily fill up with water when it rains, making them perfect places for mosquito larvae to thrive.
Considering the fact that South Carolinians generate more than 4.5 million waste tires every year, it’s critical that we dispose of them in the right manner.
Recycling is the best solution
Here’s how you as a citizen can help:
- When you purchase a new tire, leave the old one with the dealer.
- If you have tires around your home, toss out any water they might be holding, keep them dry and cover them or store them inside. If you don’t have a use for keeping them, the best solution is to recycle discarded tires. Most counties have collection programs that accept a minimal number of waste tires (usually about five) at drop-off recycling centers. Check with your local recycling coordinator or call the Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling at 1-800-768-7348 for a drop-off center near you.
- Report tire dumping and unpermitted storage of waste tires. Contact your local litter control office or the local DHEC Environmental Health Services Office. To find your local litter office go to org/about/ and select your county. DHEC offices are listed at www.scdhec.gov/HomeAndEnvironment/DHECLocations/.
Properly discarding tires helps control mosquito populations and combats mosquito-borne diseases, and it also prevents potential fire hazards and removes unsightly nuisances. Recycled tires can be turned into valuable products like rubberized asphalt or crumb rubber applications that can be used in road projects, playgrounds, sport facilities and even erosion-resistant beach walls.
In South Carolina, DHEC is working to identify responsible parties to remove and manage illegally dumped tires. But while it’s critical to cleanup existing piles, the best solution is to prevent such piles from forming in the first place.
Be responsible and lawful
It’s going to take responsible, informed, lawful efforts on the part of those who sell, buy, transport or process tires to avoid the creation of waste tire heaps:
- If you transport more than 15 waste tires at any one time in South Carolina, you must be registered as a hauler. Be sure to obtain a waste tire hauler permit.
- A permit also is required to process waste tires, including the use of mobile shredders.
- The storage of waste tires typically requires a waste tire collection permit. Certain exemptions apply to new or scrap tire dealers, tire retreaders, tire manufacturers, permitted solid waste facilities, businesses that remove tires from motor vehicles and agricultural users.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road: Once tires have lost their get up and go, dispose of them properly. Spare them a second life as mosquito havens, nuisances and environmental hazards.