DOHA: Qatar hopes to use recycled car tyres to pave its roads from next year, making the thoroughfares quieter and more durable.
This is, however, not the first time the country will be paving its roads with recycled tyres, says a senior environment ministry official.
The pioneering trial was first carried out in 1997 and then in 2000, and that is why the current initiative has been named ‘Qatar3’.
Qatar has some 11m tonnes of used car tyres lying as landfill waste posing threats to the environment.
Annually some 1.5m to 2m tonnes of used tyres are generated here.
This was disclosed by Dr Mohamed Saif Al Kuwari, assistant undersecretary for laboratory and standardisation affairs at the environment ministry in an interview published in local Arabic daily Al Raya yesterday.
He said a technical committee has been set up headed by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) which, along with foreign consultants, is studying the new initiative.
The panel is likely to approve the recycled tyre asphalting material for use from next year.
Roads paved with recycled car tyres do not develop cracks, are less noisy and can withstand more load, he said.
The average life of such roads is 50 years and they need less maintenance, while the roads asphalted with bitumen have a life span of 20 years and require regular maintenance.
The cost of surfacing roads with recycled tyres is only five percent more but since these roads are more durable, less noisy and need less maintenance, they work out to be much cheaper in the long run,” said the official.
He said the disposal of used tyres in landfill sites poses several environmental hazards, one of them being their proneness to fire.
The other risk is that during rains, water can seep underground with unwanted chemicals washed out of the tyre waste.
Al Kuwari said that during the sizzling summer months, day temperatures in the country soar up to 45 and 48 degrees Celsius.
But due to the heat, the temperature of the bitumen-asphalted road can rise up to a mind-boggling 76 degrees C.
He hinted that due the above reasons, it is unsafe to use those car tyres that are not manufactured specifically for this region.
His department, meanwhile, in a statement has called on the people to be extremely careful and not order car tyres through the Internet.