Thursday, February 12, 2009

Whoops: Artifical Reef Edition

I remember reading about this really keen idea in My Weekly Reader in elementary school: tie up a bunch of tires, sink them in the ocean, create a reef. Wildlife is attracted and from an unsightly mess Good Things Happen.

Fast forward a few decades ...

Of some concern to environmentalists is a "minortoxin" being emitted by the tires.

Well that might be a problem ... but surely the amount of marine life attracted by the reef outweighs a little bit of toxin . . .

Todd Barber, chairman of the Reef Ball Foundation downplayed this aspect of the tire reef in comparison to the damage they cause other reefs: "I don't think anybody's worried about [the toxin] [...] The primary hazard [is] they're moving around."

Yes, moving around.  The tires are still intact but the nylon and steel used to tie the bundles together corroded clean away.

Two million tires were soon loose in sixty-five feet of water.  Scrubbing marine life off as they scoot around.  Crashing into nearby natural reefs and destroying them.  Washing ashore as far north as North Frickin' Carolina.

The same thing has happened to other tire reefs all over the world.  Indonesia and Malaysia mounted similar, larger efforts in the 1980s so you can just imagine how much junk people with good intentions have tossed into the water since the 1970s.

All in all a good argument for people to think really long and hard before committing to a course of action that will have long term affects on future generations. 

Unintended consequences are a bitch.
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