Tire Reef Off Florida Proves a Disaster
Another example of the Law of Unintended Consequences -- good intentions one awry
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - A mile offshore from this city's high-rise condos and spring-break bars lie as many as 2 million old tires, strewn across the ocean floor - a white-walled, steel-belted monument to good intentions gone awry.
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.
There was probably a consensus of marine biologists, scientists, and environmentalists who agreed that the tire reef idea would solve the growing problem of reef erosion and the death of innocent marine life, but I will stop short of drawing the obvious parallel to today's gaiaist apocalyptic scenarios.