An initiative to collect used tires in three Oaxaca municipalities has turned into a win-win for the environment and locals’ health.
Residents of San Pedro Mixtepec, Pochutla and Huatulco responded to a call by local officials and the state Ministry of the Environment to turn in used and discarded tires.
It was the first campaign of its kind in the region.
The collected tires will serve as fuel for a Cruz Azul cement manufacturing plant, said María Jessica Santos Reyes, a biologist and ecology coordinator in San Pedro Mixtepec, where five tonnes of tires were collected.
Eliminating the discarded tires will have widespread benefits in the community, Santos told the newspaper NVI Noticias, including the elimination of breeding grounds for aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which spread dengue, zika and chikungunya.
Tires, she said, take half a century to biodegrade and even then don’t truly degrade but decompose into microplastics, which can contaminate local bodies of water and thus be introduced into the food chain.
To round up the tires in San Pedro Mixtepec, where the tourist destination of Puerto Escondido is located, officials established a central collection point but also did visits by appointment to take tires from people’s homes, with help from the community’s Clean Beaches office.
The community has also conducted a collection of used cooking oil.
The campaign, which ended Saturday, expected to collect 2,000 liters of oil to be turned into biodiesel fuel and kept out of the community’s water supply.
Source: NVI Noticias (sp)