Students from Colombian National University in Bogota have begun a tire recycling program that turns tire powder into an insulating construction material. Under the name of EcoPlacas their startup aims to use the more than 750,000 trashed tires per year that would usually end up being burnt or in the landfills.
They will start working with the Suba locality in northern Bogota as it is very polluted. According to the Air Quality Monitoring Network this region reaches average concentrations of particulate matter (PM 10) of 55µg/m3 when WHO air quality guidelines recommend 10 µg/m3. More so, up to 17.5% of the locality’s territory consists on protected areas.
Suba’s local mayor welcomed the project as it aims to protect the environment and also gives a sustainable solution to the tire problem.
Burnt tires can increase concentrations and reach up to 240µg/m3 and according to several studies the reduction in air quality can increase mortality up to 3% and affects children and the elderly mostly.
“We aim to reduce the PM10 concentrations about 10% in the locality in the next 18 months,” remarked one of the students.
Their project also includes awareness campaigns about the location of places to take used tires in the city instead of dumping them elsewhere. EcoPlacas will crush the tires until they are powdered, then treat them and create the insulating material. They have low thermal conductivity and also serve as sound insulating.
According to the World Health Organization Bogotá exceeds the 50 µg/m3 concentration of particulate matter in the air which is more than cities like New York which doubles the population. These concentrations are related to an increase in respiratory diseases and various kinds of cancer.
Latin American Post