Tires are big ocean polluters


Most of us are aware of the part that Styrofoam and plastic bags have played in contributing to the load of plastics in the oceans. Have you ever wondered what happens to the stuff of tires when they wear down? The tiny bits that wear off your tires and those of all those other “rubber” tires around the world mostly ends up in the oceans.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) has published a report that points to two big polluters – tiny plastic particles from modern tires and synthetic clothing.

Both contribute about 30% of the overall plastic load being funneled into our oceans today. These two sources alone are estimated to add about 9.5 million tonnes annually to our waters.

The IUCN lists the top seven plastic polluters and surprisingly plastic shopping bags don’t make the list. Following are the seven worst polluters according to the group.

  • ·       Tires – many are not made of rubber any longer but are a complex mixture including plastics
  • ·       Synthetic textiles – the group urges people to return to more natural fibres. When synthetics are laundered, tiny particles are worn away and find their way into water courses.·     
  •   Marine coatings – many are designed to gradually wear away, protecting the metal hulls and wear patterns give maintenance crews valuable information.
  • Perrsonal care products – many cosmetics and toothpastes contain plastic microbeads which get washed into the ocean and sometimes incorporated into the marine life.
  •  Plastic pellets
  •  City dust
·      
The report deals with more than tires and laundered synthetics.
The IUCN report is available in its entirety 

Further Reading:
BBC News                       
CNBC                              

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