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In defence of the rubber reef

Spare tyres are being used to create man made coral reefs in the Philippines.

The government says that dumping the tyres in the sea will create a thriving environment for fish.

The reef is being built near the City of Dumaguete, in the Philippine province of Negros Oriental.

Negros Oriental Vice Governor Apolinario Arnaiz said: “Utilising used tires as artificial coral reef can make an effective sanctuary for fish in areas that do not have natural coral reefs.”

The government are working on the project with the Rotary Club of Dumaguete-South.

The used tyres are threaded together with nylon and placed in a pyramid formation.

Various reports have criticised “tyre reefs” saying corals will not grow on rubber tyres, but Mr  Arnaiz said this only applies to cold countries, and corals would thrive on the tyres.

He added: “The artificial reef no longer appears like used tyres because they are all covered with algae and sea grass where planktons are plenty. The planktons serve as food for the fish, and that is why the artificial reef attracts more fish.”

Mr  Arnaiz said the government now plans to create more reefs were there are no natural coral reefs.

He said: “This project will help improve fish catch, improve the food supply, and provide economic growth.”

He added that the tyres are easily cleaned and when cut create a perfect breeding ground for fish.

Dumaguete City administrator William Ablong said that in the past used tires were banned as artificial reefs by Department of Environment and Natural Resources but now there was no evidence that the tyres were toxic to fish.

by David Nash

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