It took only days to turn a huge area of sea bed into a complete dead zone, but will take years to fix. Interestingly, it wasn’t an environmental disaster that occurred off Fort Lauderdale, but an attempt to provide an artificial reef.
In 1972, a company called Broward Artificial Reef Inc. dumped 700,000 tires into the sea. They had the backing and support of both the military and Goodyear, plus help from many amateur boaters, so the operation went smoothly. Unfortunately though, the tires broke loose from their bundles and wedged themselves amongst the real coral reef, where they acted as a "constantly killing coral-destruction machine," according to William Nuckols, who is coordinating the project. "They had to come up." A reef rescue operation is underway, organised by the Army, Navy and Coast Guard. What was estimated as a $30 Million pound project is being provided for free by the military, as it’s a perfect training operation for its divers. A pilot test was conducted last year, which proved successful. Two divers submerge at a time in 40 minute shifts, pulling tires together and raising them to the surface with inflatable bags.
Every summer for the next three years the divers will continue. So far they have raised 1,600 of the estimated 700,000 tires lying on the sea bed, so there is plenty more training opportunities for the military. After being raised, the tires are then transported to Georgia where they will be burned to create power for a paper recycling plant. :: ENN