Environment

Tire recycling must be better monitored

The 1990 Hagersville Tire Fire gained international notoriety after an uncontrolled tire fire spewed toxic smoke for seventeen days.This incident continues to take a toll on Norfolk and Haldimand some 20 years after it was extinguished. "We have a large number of cancers in the Hagersville area, and they're thinking it has to do with the tire fire," said Darren Storey, an occupational health and safety representative with the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association.

Brantford citizens and neighbouring environmentalists have come together to organize the East Ward & Echo Place Neighbourhood Association www.eastwardechoplace.com to highlight their concerns over the tire recycling plant that recently opened on Rawdon street in Brantford. One major complaint is that the company may be exceeding their storage limits.

Many people from Six Nations are also concerned about the life cycle of the tires, and the results of using Six Nations territory as a dumping ground. On May 7, 2013 an estimated 2,000 to 2,500 tires caught fire in an unauthorized dump on the territory.

For the people who live near the areas where tires are being recycled or dumped, concern over the health and safety of their families flares on a daily basis.

Rodents and mosquitoes often use the storage facilities and dumps to breed unabated. These creatures bring disease and can make a nuisance of themselves.

What is even more sinister, however, is the possibility of fire. These fires often come with no warning whatsoever. They can be particularly difficult to control given the makeup of the tires themselves as well as the sheer numbers of them dumped in one place.

Not only do these tire dumps and potential fires continue to threaten the people of Six Nations and put them in extreme danger, they blight the lands themselves.

As if the huge piles of worn out tires dotting the landscapes of the land was not enough, when these piles burn, they wreak havoc on the delicate ecosystem around us. The fires raze the landscape, leaving it bare of the native grasses, and other foliage, that is necessary for the area to sustain itself. After a tire fire it takes years for the area to recover, and even when it does, it will not be the same as it was before the fires consumed it.

The 1990 Hagersville Tire Fire gained international notoriety after an uncontrolled tire fire spewed toxic smoke for seventeen days.This incident continues to take a toll on Norfolk and Haldimand some 20 years after it was extinguished. “We have a large number of cancers in the Hagersville area, and they’re thinking it has to do with the tire fire,” said Darren Storey, an occupational health and safety representative with the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association.

The tires emit noxious chemicals that are harmful to the people in and around the Six Nations and surrounding communities, the plants and animals that live nearby, as well as the emergency response workers.

This can cause mild to aggressive reactions in even the most healthy of individuals.

The companies that have been given the government contracts to provide a safe and contained area to dispose of these eyesores and who instead use secret tire dumps to cut costs have severely overstepped their boundaries. Indeed, it is safe to say that they are compounding the very problem they were hired to help contain.

Running out of room in which to receive the used tires due to lax recycling initiatives, unknown companies have taken to dumping them illegally in hidden areas on the Six Nations and other unprotected lands and communities.

These companies take advantage of the fact that the Province, like many others in Canada, have no policy set in place for dealing with such matters.

This, however, does not take into account the fact that they are violating the terms of their agreement with the Canadian government. Local business owners have few options when disposing of the tires that accumulate in their storage containers, some are happy to have the recyclers nearby but question the fate of the tires, while some are just glad to have anyone take them.

Regular sized tires cost on average $1-3 a tire to dispose, and thats a welcome cost for companies who regularly replace tires for customers and then discard the old ones.

It is time for accountability.

While it is true that the disposal of used tires is a huge consumer issue, there are ways to address this. Rules need to be followed in order to ensure that the tires are actually being recycled and not simply dumped in order to increase the profits of the companies who have been hired to help curb the issue.

All Onkwehon:we communities and environments must be protected, for the present generation as well as all those that follow.

  • Benjamin

    Benjamin

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