Ecological Sensibilities

This was not one of them …

Tire Reef Off Florida Proves to Be a Disaster
By BRIAN SKOLOFF, AP

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Feb. 18) – A mile offshore from this city’s high-rise condos and beachside bars, where glitz and glamour mix with spring break revelry, lies an underwater dump – up to 2 million old tires strewn across the ocean floor.

A well-intentioned attempt in 1972 to create what was touted as the world’s largest artificial reef made of tires has become an ecological disaster.

The idea was simple: Create new marine habitat and alternate dive sites to relieve pressure on natural reefs, while disposing of tires that were clogging landfills.

Decades later it’s clear the plan failed miserably.

Little sea life has formed on the tires. Some of the bundles bound together with nylon and steel have broken loose and are scouring the ocean floor across a swath the size of 31 football fields. Tires are washing up on beaches. Thousands have wedged up against the nearby natural reef some 70 feet below the sea surface, blocking coral growth and devastating marine life. Similar problems have been reported at tire reefs worldwide.

“They’re a constantly killing coral destruction machine,” said William Nuckols, coordinator for Coastal America, a federal group involved in organizing a cleanup effort that includes Broward County biologists, state scientists and Army and Navy salvage divers.

Read all of it here.

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