The Daily Star has released a recent on how tire burning is the preferred manifestation of anger and frustration for Lebanese protesters. After each of the recent incidents in Lebanon tire burning took place, during the civil war burning tires were used as makeshift checkpoints, the death of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel-Nasser in the 1970s was mourned by burning tires, in May 2008 Hezbollah Future Movement fighters turned West Beirut into a battle field by burning tires, and when Lebanon’s public transportation sector held a nationwide strike last month: tires were burned. These are just some examples.
As well as releasing a high concentration of dangerous metal particles such as zinc, mercury, lead and chromium, burning tires releases toxic gases like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are type 1A carcinogens (the highest level) and dioxin, which was recognized by EPA in 1985 as the most potent human made carcinogen that fails to break down in the environment but instead builds up in the food chain, concentrating in meat and dairy products affecting the immune systems and fertility.
Pregnant mothers are particularly at risk of passing on high levels of deadly toxins to their offspring and , depending on the weather, traces of these particles can remain in the air for one or two days.
Now, given this is not a very clever way to protest since smoke from burning tires release carcinogenic particles that affect the health of protesters and nearby neighborhoods rather than government officials sitting in their air-conditioned office (not that causing cancer to government officials is justifiable), can Lebanese protesters change their silly ways please?
Banners and megaphones are more vintage.
Image via the NY Times