Abu Dhabi: There are over 25 million used tyres in Abu Dhabi. Often they get dumped illegally in landfills and desert areas, posing a grave environmental hazard.

These dumping sites have also turned into ideal breeding grounds for pests and are fire risks.

Efforts are under way to eliminate the problem by recycling tyres and by regulating waste disposal.

Speaking to Gulf News, Majid Al Mansouri, the secretary-general of the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi (EAD) and chairman of the Higher Committee for Waste Management in the emirate, said companies have been dumping tyres in the desert or illegal landfills because of the absence of an organised waste disposal mechanism.

Putting an end to the problem is very important, he said. "Last year, a fire broke out at a dumping site in Al Ain, which was contained quickly. But it is alarming, because burning tyres emit pollutants into the atmosphere."

He said efforts are under way to find a suitable contractor to recycle used tyres and create useful products such as mats to be used as flooring at playgrounds.