Mountain of car tires might rise in Ķegums, Latvia

Owners of adventure park "Dimantu kalns" in Ķegums have planned to expand their recreation area by raising a hill of 3,000 square meters - its base made of old tires, Latvian Radio reported August 17.

The municipal Construction Board has given the project the green light, but the State Environmental Service (VVD) has been contemplative about such an idea.

"Dimantu kalns" in the Rembate  parish of the municipality of Ķegums, with a 43-hectare area, is a vast recreational complex in which camps, weddings and other events are organized. Now the owners of "Dimantu kalns" plan to set up a mountain in their area, using old car tires at its base. The owner of the recreational complex, Peteris Dimants, said that the use of worn-out tires in the strengthening of dams, mountain bases and forest roads is an old practice in Europe.

“There was an idea to make a small slope from which there would be a variety of rides. There would be tire blocks on the base. This is a very green, very correct idea, because the tires are not used,” said Dimants.

The City Council of Ķegums supported the idea, but the State Environmental Service (VVD) is having second thoughts.

"Would artificial mountain placement mean recycling the tires?" asked the head of the Latvian Tire Management Association, Tīna Lūse.

"First of all, it must be seen whether the material from which the tire mountain is to be built is considered to be a secondary raw material within the meaning of the regulatory enactments, which I would very much doubt. If it is simply a mountain of tires or crushed tires , it is likely not to meet the requirements that describe the secondary raw material,” said Lūse.

“If it is not a secondary raw material, it must be noted that tires and their management have long been subjected to a ban on the disposal of tires under the ground by European Union legislation. From this point of view, the idea of building a mountain from the tires that are simply covered by soil is very reproachable,” said Lūse.

Lūse said that the whole world is heading towards the first serious recycling of tires into granules, but then used as secondary raw materials, such as roads or playgrounds.

“It has to be understood that tires under the mountain will not break down in an environmentally friendly way. It is necessary to understand how it affects the environment and what will happen when the mountain is done being used," she said.

The owner of “Dimantu kalns”, said that he has now started to have second thoughts because "it's complicated with the authorities concerned," adding that he might execute the project outside Latvia.

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