Kuwait aims to transform ‘tire graveyard’ into the new city

    04 Sep 2021

    Kuwait, on August 29, announced plans to transform what was once a mammoth “tire graveyard” into a residential city.

    The 2-square-kilometer dump in the north of the oil-rich Gulf country was where tires went to die – a total of more than 40 million at the end.

    Seventeen years of tire dumping and three massive fires between 2012 and 2020 sparked environmental concerns, prompting the authorities to shut it down for good.

    “We have moved from a difficult stage that was characterized by great environmental risk,” Oil Minister Mohammed Al-Fares said at the now empty landfill some five kilometers (three miles) from Al-Jahra province.

    “Today, the area is clean, and all tires have been removed to begin the launch of the project of Saad Al-Abdullah city.”

    In past months, trucks loaded with tires had made more than 44,000 trips from the landfill to Al-Salmi region, near Kuwait’s industrial area, where Fares said they would be temporarily stored.

    He said the tires would be cut or repurposed for local use or for export, adding that storage would meet “international standards… in case of fire.”

    According to Sheikh Abdullah Al-Sabah, director-general of the Environment Public Authority, Kuwait plans to recycle all the tires and avoid the need for another landfill.

    “There is already a factory today that repurposes them, and we hope to find another manufacturer to contribute to help end the tires issue,” he told AFP.

    Alaa Hassan, head of EPSCO Global General Contracting, told AFP her firm extracts raw materials from tires, including elements used to pave roads and sidewalks.

    She said EPSCO has the capacity to cut or repurpose approximately two million tires a year in cooperation with other factories.

    The world’s largest tire dump at the Al Sulaibiya tire site in Kuwait was on fire in August and was visible on satellite images.

    Nod for Kuwaitis to build houses on tire dump site; 42m tires shifted to Salmi

    The Environment Public Authority of Kuwait has announced on August 30 that tires from the South Sa’ad Al-Abdullah dumpsite have been removed after six months of continuous work. 

    This is a part of the preparation to hand over the site to Public Authority for Housing Welfare for distribution to citizens to build their houses in the area. The director of the authority, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Ahmad, said the tires had been transported to the Salmi area for recycling, “which is perhaps the largest transfer of tires in the world.” In a ceremony held Sunday Kuwaitis to announce the end of the tire transfer process, Al-Ahmad indicated, “the issue was raised before the Council of Ministers in November 2019, and the Municipal Council was requested to allocate a site to transfer the tires.”

    He continued, saying, “The tires remained for 17 years in the Erhiya area, until the Council of Ministers commissioned the EPA to dispose off these tires in September 2019, and we requested the Kuwait Municipality and the Municipal Council to find an alternative area in Salmi where recycling factories could be established, and then we took the initiative to transport the tires.” He explained about 42.65 million tires (the equivalent of 507,000 tons of tires) were transported by about 44,000 trucks back and forth, and “we were keen to quickly hand over the area to the Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW).”

    He stressed on the EPA’s keenness to ensure the land to which the tires were transferred is close to the recycling plants considering that the recycling waste is of great concern for the country, and the authority has developed a road map to dispose of tires and recycle all types of garbage. He pointed out that the EPA could complete the cleaning of the area, which will be handed over within days to the PAHW after ensuring the area is ready for the housing project. He said Salmi will be turned into a complete recycling area. He said at the moment, there is one recycling factory that can accommodate approximately 3,500 tires per day, which will contribute in a big way to end the tire problem in the country.   

    There’s much more waste production during the quarantine. Where to take masks, sanitizers, and disposable tableware? Look for an answer here.

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