Clouding the skies

Student leader Kamal Basnet defended tyre burning as a legitimate means of getting government attention at a recent discussion programme in the capital. We see common sights of students jumping up and down in front of Ratna Rajya Campus (Exhibition Road) and Amrit Science Campus (Lainchaur) while black smoke rise up from burning tyres whenever students start agitation of some kind. With the use of tyres forecast to go up 60% by 2021, and in the absence of any viable and environment-friendly method to remove them, the overzealous students will have ever more ammunition at their disposal in the years to come.

Countries the world over are struggling to come to terms with the huge volumes of used tyres. Even when the tyres are stacked up, additives like zinc, chromium, lead and copper tend to leach out in time, imperilling both the environment and human beings in surrounding areas. In this light, the only viable option is to encourage the use of sturdy tyres that need not be changed frequently, thus cutting the number tossed out in the dumps. The health risks associated with old tyres are too big to ignore. Tyre burning was banned during the Royal regime but the ban has had little effect on the agitators. Perhaps gentle prods through mass awareness campaigns will be more effective than any attempt at crushing the indomitable spirits.