Posted by: reefrescue | February 25, 2010

Military halts cleanup of Fort Lauderdale tire reef

AP reports military divers are being pulled off a project to clean up an artificial reef off the beach at Fort Lauderdale that turned into an environmental disaster.

The divers have spent the last three summers pulling up thousands of tires a mile off Fort Lauderdale.

Hundreds of thousands were sunk there in 1972 in hopes they would turn into a coral reef. But nothing grew and they became scattered across the ocean floor, damaging real coral reefs.

The military began cleaning up the tires as a training exercise at no cost to the state.

But now a Pentagon official says the diving crews are being stretched too thin by two wars and helping repair port facilities damaged by the earthquake in Haiti.

The earliest the cleanup could continue is 2012.

Reef Rescue divers investigate tire reef

Last summer we had an opportunity to accompany the French documentary film crew Thalassa on a dive to this environmental disaster offshore of Ft. Lauderdale. What we saw left us speechless; acre after acre of thousands of tires creating a surreal underwater wasteland. Click here to watch our video.

Tire reef history

The tires were unloaded there in 1972 to create an artificial reef that could attract a rich variety of marine life, and to free up space in clogged landfills. But decades later, the idea has proved a huge ecological blunder.

Little sea life has formed on the tires. Some of the tires that were bundled together with nylon and steel have broken loose and are scouring the ocean floor across a swath the size of 31 football fields. Tires are washing up on beaches. Thousands have wedged up against a nearby natural reef, blocking coral growth and devastating marine life (read more, USATODAY article).

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Responses

  1. […] Read more at Reef Rescue. […]

  2. […] Reef Rescue videotaped the condition of the tire reef in 2010: […]

  3. we can clean for free, 30000 tire per mounth. Contact for more information please !
    00242044001028
    Olivier Katende

  4. wow, didn’t realize there were so many tires under the ocean… Crazy! thanks for sharing


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