Kuwait has started recycling more than 42 million scrap tires, which have accumulated in the desert over 17 years, forming one of the largest used tire cemeteries in the world.
This site remained in the Arhiya area, about 35 kilometers from the capital, Kuwait, and only about seven kilometers from the residential areas, a source of inconvenience to the residents due to successive fires that broke out from time to time in this huge amount of tires, causing clouds of black smoke harmful to the environment and the population.
The Environment Public Authority announced that it had completed the process of transferring all tires from the Arhiya area to the Al-Salmi area near the border with Saudi Arabia, within six months, through companies led by initiators, where recycling efforts began, without any cost to the government.
The government wants In building a residential project comprising about 25,000 homes in the area after it was freed from the tire problem, which was the biggest obstacle facing the project.
In a recycling factory run by the International General Trading Company, Abisko, in the Salmi area, workers sort and cut scrap tires to produce various products, some of which are used as fuel for cement factories, and materials that are pressed to make colored rubber floor tiles and artificial turf, some of which are even used in children’s play areas.
The partner and CEO of EPISCO, Engineer Alaa Hassan, said that the goal of the factory “is to preserve the environment and radically dispose of waste, by using these tires as raw materials … to produce beautiful materials with bright colors that can also be used in the aesthetic and not only industrial aspects.” .
She explained that the company exports the factory’s products to the neighboring Gulf countries as well as to the Asian market, in addition to local consumption.
The plant, which began operating in January 2021, can recycle about three million tires annually, as its maximum operating capacity.
Scrap tires are a major environmental problem worldwide, due to the large numbers of these tires, the chemicals in their composition and the fires that can result from their buildup.
The number of vehicles in Kuwait, which is rich in oil and a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries with a population of about 4.5 million, reached about 2.4 million vehicles in 2019, according to the latest figures published by the General Administration of Statistics, up from 1.5 million in 2010.
There is no set time frame for recycling these tires, but the environmental authorities, who are trying to turn the Salmi area into a recycling center, want to get rid of them as quickly as possible.
The General Manager and CEO of Al-Khair Group Holding Company, Hammoud Al-Marri, said that his company transported more than 50% of the tires from the Arhiya area to Al-Salmi in trucks that sometimes reached 500 per day, indicating that the company will transfer to Kuwait a technology called pyrolysis, which is carried out from During which tires are burned and converted into raw materials.
Pyrolysis produces a type of oil that can be sold for use in industrial furnaces such as cement plants, as well as an ash known as carbon black that can be used in various industries.
“When waste is converted into energy, there is no doubt that this is a benefit. It is discarded materials that are reused and valued,” Al-Marri told Reuters.
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