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How the world's largest tire cemetery disappeared from the map

10 June 2024 to 15: 13
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How the world's largest tire cemetery disappeared from the map
Kuwait's tire cemetery, known for being the largest in the world and visible even from space, has finally been eliminated. Understand how this happened. Image: Not What You Think/Disclosure

Kuwait's tire cemetery, known for being the largest in the world and visible even from space, has finally been eliminated. Understand how this happened.

Imagine dumping more than 50 million tires in one place over 20 years. This is what happened in Kuwait, creating the world's largest tire cemetery in Sulaibiya. This place was so immense that it could be seen from space.

The tire cemetery brought a lot of problems. Between 2012 and 2020, three major fires occurred there, due to high temperatures. These fires released many toxic chemicals into the air, affecting the health of nearby residents.

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The Kuwaiti government realized that housing the world's largest tire cemetery was not a good look

Especially with important events taking place in the region, such as the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. So, they decided to take action and relocate all the tires. Between 2012 and 2020, the Kuwaiti government established several facilities to recycle tires. Satellite photos show that as of September 2021, all tires had been moved from Sulaibiya to these new recycling facilities.

But what exactly did they do with those 50 million tires? Using a thermochemical process called pyrolysis, the tires were heated to 450 degrees. The rubber from tires was turned into gas, which was then cooled and sold as biofuel.

The resulting black carbon was extracted and stored, while the metal wires were removed and recycled

In addition to pyrolysis, tires can also be shredded. The pieces of rubber are turned into rubber flooring for construction or even roofing. It is estimated that 1 billion scrap tires are generated every year, and there are currently 4 billion tires in landfills and warehouses around the world.

The world's largest tire cemetery, once a huge environmental and health problem, is now a thing of the past. Thanks to the efforts of the Kuwaiti government and new recycling technologies, millions of tires have been transformed into useful materials, contributing to a world cleaner and more sustainable.

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