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EPA cleans up a million used tires near Mexicali

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday it has cleaned up more than a million used tires near Mexicali in a project with its Mexican counterpart. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has details.

The mountain of scrap tires was one of the largest in Mexico. It was an eyesore. And the director of the EPA's San Diego office Tomas Torres says it was also a major fire hazard, air polluter and mosquito breeding ground.

Torres says now the bulk of the tires are being burned to fuel cement plants in Ensenada and further south in Mexico.

Torres: "They use them as alternative fuel instead of using their normal fuel, like perhaps natural gas."

Torres says his agency and Mexican authorities are developing other strategies to dispose of used tires. They're looking at using them to surface roads and playgrounds on both sides of the border.

Used tires are a major problem for Mexico. Most come from the United States and are sold to Mexican consumers with just a few months of life left on their treads. Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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