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Microplastics from Tyres: Experts Warn of Worsening Environmental Hazard

Microplastics from Tyres: Experts Warn of Worsening Environmental Hazard

As the world embraces electric vehicles in hopes of cleaner air, experts warn of an enduring environmental threat: microplastics from tyre wear. Despite the transition to battery-powered cars, this pollution persists, raising concerns among scientists about its detrimental impact on the environment.

In recent years, the issue of microplastics generated from tyre wear has gained significant attention. Once overlooked, these tiny particles are now recognized as a growing hazard due to their potential environmental harm.

According to Professor Richard Thompson from the University of Plymouth, substantial quantities of microplastics are shed from tyres onto road surfaces, particularly during wet conditions. Until recently, measuring techniques often failed to capture these particles, leading to their underestimation.

The repercussions of tyre microplastics are far-reaching. They can contaminate soil, waterways, and the air, posing risks to both environmental health and human well-being. Recent research in the Emirates has revealed elevated levels of microplastics in park soils, indicating a potential contribution from tyre wear.

Professor Ad Ragas from Radboud University underscores the significance of tyre microplastics in air pollution, estimating that three to seven percent of airborne particles originate from tyres. With the rise of electric vehicles, which tend to be heavier due to battery weight, the emission of tyre microplastics is expected to double in the next decade.

While the health implications of inhaling tyre particulate matter remain challenging to ascertain, concerns about its impact on wildlife are well-documented. Native American tribes in the US have raised alarms about the harmful effects of rubber preservatives found in tyres on salmon populations.

In response, the Tyre Industry Project (TIP) has conducted studies to assess the environmental and health risks associated with tyre wear particles. While TIP asserts that tyre wear particles pose minimal risks, ongoing research is essential to enhance understanding and mitigate potential harm.

Addressing the issue requires collaboration between researchers and the tyre industry to develop more environmentally friendly tyre compositions. Measures such as porous road surfaces and responsible driving habits can also help reduce tyre wear and microplastic pollution.

However, experts emphasize the urgency of proactive action to address this pervasive environmental issue. Professor Thompson advocates for greater accountability and responsibility among manufacturers to prioritize environmental considerations in tyre design and production.

In conclusion, the proliferation of microplastics from tyre wear poses a significant environmental challenge that demands immediate attention. By fostering collaboration, implementing sustainable solutions, and raising awareness, stakeholders can mitigate the adverse effects of tyre microplastics and safeguard the planet for future generations.

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