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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

NPP lawmakers call for action on used tire problem

Rep. Joel Franqui

By John McPhaul

Faced with the mountains of used tires throughout the island, New Progressive Party Reps. Joel Franqui, Yazzer Morales and José “Memo” González on Thursday asked the Popular Democratic Party majority in the House of Representatives to take up, with urgency, to House Bill 700, an executive measure that seeks to address the used tire storage crisis in Puerto Rico and which has not yet received a single public hearing.

“Puerto Rico again wakes up again to mountains of discarded tires today. This is a recurring problem that has a final solution, which is available in HB 700,” said Franqui, who represents District 15 of Hatillo, Camuy and Quebradillas, in a written statement. “That bill was filed on April 30 of last year and until today, Jan. 27, 2022, it has not even received a public hearing. We can apply patches, but there is not going to be a final solution until action is taken on this measure. This must be a priority for the House of Representatives and the Senate.”

The legislation would create the “Rubber Tire Safety Standards Law” for the purpose of regulating the sale and use of tires on the island. It also establishes minimum quality standards that must be met by tires put up for sale and imposes on the secretary of the Department of Transportation and Public Works the responsibility of promulgating any regulations deemed necessary to ensure their effective achievement.

In Puerto Rico, some 18,000 used tires are thrown away every day, which represents around 4.7 million a year. Among some of the effects of storing tires outdoors -- which is the norm -- are the possibility of fire; the spread of mosquitoes such as the aedes aegypti, transmitter of the dengue and chikungunya viruses; their biodegradation is prolonged; and clandestine dumps are more likely to spring up.

González (District 14 of Arecibo and Hatillo), who on Thursday morning had a telephone conversation with La Fortaleza Chief of Staff Noelia García Bardales to outline alternatives regarding the matter.

“The health of our constituents in Arecibo cannot be put at risk; we have to act,” he said. “As … the Legislature, which we request that it be attended to quickly, acts, the Executive is going to take action. Used tires are going to be collected, but this cannot always be done; there has to be a solution and that is contained in HB 700.”

“Enough of delays, this bill has to be a priority and it must be now,” added Morales, the representative for District 9 (Toa Alta and Bayamón). “We hope that the measure will be reviewed and included in the Special Orders Calendar as soon as possible. The Legislature has in its hands the tool to eliminate the mountains of discarded tires.”

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