Philly city council tries to get a grip on tire dumping

The streets department estimates that it collects more than 70 tons of tires illegally disposed on city streets

Pat Loeb
October 23, 2018 - 8:23 pm

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Philadelphia City Council committee advanced a bill Tuesday it hopes will reduce the dumping of tires on city streets. 

The bill would require tire dealers to get a license to do business in the city. The Philadelphia Streets Department estimates that it collects more than 70 tons of tires illegally disposed on city streets, each year.

Council members describe it as a massive problem. Kenyatta Johnson says there's a spot in his district that the city has to clean up regularly and every time.

"We're talking about 150,200 tires easy," he said. 

The bill would attack the problem by creating a tire dealer license that requires the name of the hauler the dealer uses to dispose of old tires. It would also require the dealer to keep a detailed accounting of every single tire bought, sold, and disposed of. 

Nic Esposito, Zero Waste and Litter director, says that would help the city to track where dumped tires are coming from.

"If it doesn't look like numbers are lining up, we can go investigate the hauler and vice versa. If we catch a hauler in the act or know they're dumping, we can tie them back to where they have contracts, where they showed up on these permits. We can go to those tire shops and further investigate," he said. "It's setting the tone that we're not going to let this slip through the cracks anymore. We're going to have some oversight."

It's not just unsightly, adds Esposito. There are also major health concerns.

"Tires are made of dangerous chemicals and when dumped can act as menacing mosquito breeding grounds when filled with water."

Community activists testified in support. There was no opposition. No tire dealers or haulers testified at all though the bill's sponsor, Maria Quiñones-Sanchez, said they were invited. 

The bill now goes to the full council.