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Mountains of problems

Mountains of problems

By TA News Bureau:

It is high time to develop effective ways to use waste tyres by innovative scientific approach without any additional carbon foot print. Waste tyres should be treated as a resource, says one of India’s top researcher and academic specialising in earthquake geotechnical engineering Prof (Dr) Anbazhagan Panjamani. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Science. His main interests are in earthquake geotechnical engineering, applied geophysics and railway geotechnical engineering. In an interview to Tyre Asia, he says proper guidelines and policies should be put in place to enable organised recycling and disposal of waste tyres. Although they provide numerous advantages from the viewpoint of civil engineering practices, they still remain underutilised from the perspective of environmentally friendly disposal. Many new techniques have emerged to utilise the advantageous characteristics of end-of-life tyres. They are lightweight for practical purposes in civil engineering. He feels the tyre industry should support researchers working in this field with the goal of ecologically acceptable solutions to the reuse of tyres

How big and serious is the end-of-life tyre disposal problem in India?

India’s waste tyres account for about 6-7% of the global total. With the local tyre industry growing at 12% per annum, waste volumes are also rising considerably. Due to the drastic increase in the end-of-life tyres over the years, most of the landfills in the country are getting clogged. Numerous Indian states are struggling with this problem. Many have already banned the disposal of all types of tyres, whole or shredded, in the landfills. This has led to increased burning of waste tyres which is one of the major reasons for emission of harmful gases into the atmosphere. As per a research commissioned by Apollo Tyres in 2018, India will soon have more than 100 million end-of-life tyres every year without proper mechanisms in place to recycle or dispose of these tyres. In 2016 it was reported that about 60% of waste tyres were disposed through illegal dumping. It is high time to develop effective ways to use waste tyres by innovative scientific approach without any additional carbon foot print.
In the Indian context, what is the best way to address the issue nationally?
In the Indian scenario, the most important factor is to create awareness among public about waste tyre disposal. Media has a major role to play in it. There should be strict regulations for disposal and a ban on illegal dumping and burning of tyres. Tyre manufactures and importers should take responsibility up to end life of each tyre. Waste should be treated as a resource. Proper guidelines and policies should be set in place to enable organized recycling and disposal. Tyre manufacturing associations, in conjunction with the government, should evolve a used tyre recycling policy.

From waste tyres, there are sustainable technologies to make tyre chips to granules that have applications in different industrial fields. Can you explain your views on how we can recover useful materials from waste tyres?

Although scrapped tyres provide numerous advantages from the viewpoint of civil engineering practices, they still remain underutilised from the perspective of environmentally friendly disposal. Many new techniques have emerged to utilize the advantageous characteristics of end-of-life tyres. For the first time we have made an attempt to systematically estimate the static and dynamic properties of sand-rubber mixture (SRM) for granulated rubber size ranging from 1 mm to 20 mm and different percentage mixes as low-cost isolation material for low-to-medium rise buildings. Our study has found that four layers with equal spacing of geotextile for 50 % SRM and geonet for 75 % SRM show better strength when compared to other combinations. We found that earthquake vibrations were considerably reduced when 75 % SRM reinforced with geonet for a typical building. Further laboratory plate load model tests with the proposed isolation scheme were carried out on a square footing to demonstrate the improved bearing capacity and reduced settlement. The possibilities of using end-of-life tyres are immense.

What are the research areas that the country should focus on to pursue waste tyre recovery programme to boost circular economy?

There has been a lot of research that is being carried out for a sustainable and eco-friendly solution for managing the end-of-life tyres. Scrap tyres are light-weight, have high vibration absorption, high elastic compressibility, high hydraulic conductivity, and temperature isolation potential. Scrap tyres have a thermal resistivity that is about seven times higher than soil; they produce low earth pressure and absorb vibrations. One of major utilisation can be in civil engineering/ construction industries, by developing scientific practices for the reuse of scrap tyres. To use the scrap tyres as individual material or mixed with soil in civil engineering applications, the systematic understanding of static and dynamic properties of sand-rubber mixtures (SRM) are of prime importance. The tyre industry should support researchers working in this field with the goal of environmentally friendly solutions for the reuse of tyres. Potential researchers should be supported as it is the need of the hour to find adequate measures to reuse end-of-life tyres.

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