Categories: Air pollution

Toxic tyres also pollute the air harming us, our pets and urban wildlife

You wouldn’t have realised it unless you’ve read about it. Car tyres (tires) release thousands of toxic particles (microplastic) as they wear down. All the talk until now has been about toxic emissions from exhaust pipes of diesel and petrol vehicles. Diesels produce nitrogen oxide and particulates (small soot particles) and petrol engines are infamous for high levels of carbon dioxide which causes climate change.

Microplastic pollution from tires needs to be addressed by manufacturers and governments. Photo in public domain.

Tyres produce microplastic particles and we have to include brake linings. There is wear and tear on brakes which throws up particles into the air which can damage lungs. This is based on research by King’s College London.

There’s an argument that (a) manufacturers should do much more to tackle this polluting element of their product and (b) governments could tax toxic tyres that pollute air in order to force change.

This problem of course affects electric cars as much as it affects diesel or petrol cars.

“When we go to electric cars there will be no tailpipe emissions but we’re going to get plastic emissions from road wear, plastic emissions from tyres.” – tyres are mainly made of plastic nowadays.

Frank Kelly – Professor of Environmental Health at King’s College.

The Times newspaper is campaigning for ‘Clean Air for All’. The newspaper wants a new Clean Air Act to give everyone a legal right to unpolluted air. We must add to that our companion animals and wild animals as I have mentioned. I really don’t like to see animals left out of this process, which I am afraid happens all the time.


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