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France removes toxic tyres from failed reef project

September 23, 2018 4:19 pm

Teams of divers are painstakingly lifting an artificial reef made of tens of thousands of old car tyres from the seafloor south of France, after it was found to spread pollution from toxic chemicals.

The operation is costing well over a million euros ($1.1m; £898,000) and is part-funded by the tyre manufacturer Michelin as well as the French state.

The divers are supported by a boat with lifting equipment.

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Fish had been avoiding the area.

Local fishing association leader Denis Genovese told AFP news agency that some types of fish swam around the collection of tyres, while “no species really got used to it”.

Once upon a time it was seen as a double solution – a way to get rid of old tyres, while creating habitats for marine life and stimulating marine organisms to grow on the rubber.

In the 1980s local authorities agreed 25,000 tyres should be sunk into the waters 500m (1,640 feet) from the shore between Cannes and Antibes, on the French Riviera.

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