By Kajol Maheshwari
The automobile industry is progressing towards sustainable and less polluting mobility technologies, but a significant pollutant that remains in the blind spot is tyres. Every time the vehicle uses a brake or acceleration or turns around a corner, tiny tyre particles become airborne, referred to as tyre wear. Tyre wear is the second-largest microplastic pollutant in our ocean after single-use plastic and accounts for up to 50% of air particulate emission (PM) from road transport. To address this, a UK based startup, the tyre collective, developed a device that captures these micro-pollutants if installed near the tyres.
The prototype can be installed from each wheel’s steering knuckle, just above where the tyre meets the road, to capture the microplastic fragments. The startup claims that the device can capture 60% of all airborne particles contributing to road transport emissions. The rubber particles collected by the device are stored in a removable cartridge that would need to be emptied once a month. This waste rubber is then recycled and used to create new products facilitating a closed-loop business model.
India is proactively adopting cleaner mobility options, but tyre wear remains largely unaddressed. A study conducted by NCBI in 2017 estimated that India generates 292,674 tonnes of tyre wear per year. As we progress towards a zero fossil fuel future, concentrated efforts and innovative solutions are required to tackle this silent pollutant. It’s time now that we rethink vehicular pollutants and integrate a holistic approach to truly decarbonise mobility.