Scientists discover remedy for ‘massive toxic broth’ harming Seattle’s salmon

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The Power of Permeable Pavements: Saving Coho Salmon from Tire Pollution

Washington’s Puget Sound is home to countless coho salmon that each year find themselves battling against a deadly foe – tire pollution. Now, however, a new combatant may be emerging to protect our marine life. This story is drawn from scientific findings sourced from Reader Wall.

Permeable Pavements: A Possible Solution

Environmental researchers have been examining the potential of permeable pavements to keep streams free of toxic tire wear particles. According to a study in the Science of the Total Environment journal, four variations of these unique pavements have demonstrated an ability to trap up to an impressive 96 percent of tire particles. This significant reduction of tire pollution in our waterways can provide vital protection for the endangered coho salmon.

A deadly Chemical

The noteworthy use of permeable pavements resulted in a 68 percent decrease in 6PPD-quinone, a toxic chemical derived from tires that prove fatal to coho salmon. The coho, native to the northwest regions of North America, maintain a unique life cycle, steadily transitioning from freshwater, to sea, and finally returning to freshwater bodies to reproduce. However, tire pollutants have cast a lethal shadow over their return.

During episodes of heavy rainfall, tire particles, including 6PPD-quinone, are carried into streams. Edward Kolodziej, a researcher, underlines the risk: “Animals are exposed to this large concoction of chemicals, many of which are unrecognized and unidentified.”

Pavements as Filters

The newly introduced permeable pavements, comprising asphalt or concrete, act as effective filters. They successfully trap tire-based chemicals, preventing them from contaminating water bodies. This innovative method could revolutionize stormwater management.

Chelsea Mitchell, the study’s lead author, emphasizes that permeable pavements not only offer a practical solution to pollution but also offer promise in reducing it at the source. She commends them as a cornerstone of green stormwater infrastructure.

Protection for Humans, Too

It’s not just our marine life that can benefit from permeable pavements. Ultra-fine tire particles, which have the potential to become airborne, pose a significant threat to human health. According to a co-author of the study, Ani Jayakaran, the harmful chemical 6PPD-quinone is toxic not only to salmon but potentially to humans, especially those residing near high traffic areas.

Challenges on the Road Ahead

While the positive influence of permeable pavements is undeniable, challenges concerning cost, and the efforts required for road replacement cannot be overlooked. Acknowledging these concerns, Jayakaran explains, “We don’t propose permeable pavements as an all-encompassing replacement for roadways. However, our research points towards promising potentials and offers a hopeful outlook.”

Enthusiastic to further examine the impact of permeable pavements, researchers are assured that although these may not be the perfect solution, they present a hopeful avenue for mitigating tire pollution, especially the lethal 6PPD-quinone. In the quest to safeguard the enduring coho salmon, the search for solutions continues.

Anna Parker

Anna Parker, a distinguished author in the realm of business literature, brings a wealth of expertise to ReaderWall. With a profound understanding of corporate dynamics, Parker's insightful works offer invaluable insights into leadership, strategy, and organizational excellence. Explore her thought-provoking writings on ReaderWall's Business category and elevate your understanding of the business world.