Permeable Pavements: A Promising Solution for Salmon Conservation

Permeable Pavements: A Promising Solution for Salmon Conservation

Tire pollution has become a significant threat to the survival of coho salmon in Washington’s Puget Sound. However, scientists might have found a solution that could protect these magnificent creatures. In a recent study published in the Science of the Total Environment journal, researchers have discovered that permeable pavements can effectively prevent tire wear particles from contaminating streams and harming the salmon population.

Permeable pavements act as superheroes in this story, with four types of these special pavements being able to trap up to 96 percent of tire particles. This remarkable capability has led to a 68 percent reduction in the tire-related chemical 6PPD-quinone, which is lethal to coho salmon. By implementing permeable pavements made of asphalt or concrete, tire chemicals can be captured and prevented from reaching waterways, providing a promising step towards protecting these silver swimmers.

Coho salmon, native to North America’s northwest, have a unique life cycle that involves hatching in freshwater, migrating to the sea, and returning to freshwater streams for breeding. Unfortunately, tire pollutants pose a significant threat to their survival during this crucial breeding stage. Heavy rainfall washes tire particles, including the toxic 6PPD-quinone, into streams, exposing the salmon to an unknown chemical cocktail.

However, permeable pavements offer a glimmer of hope. These pavements can be considered as filters that capture tire chemicals and treat pollution at its source. With their potential to manage tire wear particles and 6PPD-quinone, permeable pavements are emerging as a key component of green stormwater infrastructure.

The benefits of permeable pavements extend beyond the conservation of salmon. Fine tire particles can become airborne and pose health risks to humans as well. Particularly for those living near busy roads, the toxic 6PPD-quinone can be hazardous. While challenges such as cost and road replacement efforts exist, the researchers emphasize that permeable pavements may not be a solution for all roadways. However, their research shows promising potential.

Researchers are now eager to conduct further extensive testing of permeable pavements. Although they may not be a silver bullet, these pavements offer hope for managing tire wear particles and protecting the coho salmon population. The journey to safeguard Seattle’s salmon continues, fueled by the promise of permeable pavements as an innovative solution.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Permeable Pavements and Tire Pollution Impact on Coho Salmon

Q1: What is the main issue addressed in the article?
A1: The article discusses the threat of tire pollution to the survival of coho salmon in Puget Sound, Washington.

Q2: What solution has been found to protect the salmon population?
A2: Researchers have discovered that permeable pavements can effectively prevent tire wear particles from contaminating streams and harming the coho salmon population.

Q3: How effective are permeable pavements in trapping tire particles?
A3: Permeable pavements have the ability to trap up to 96 percent of tire particles, reducing the presence of toxic chemicals harmful to coho salmon.

Q4: What is the role of permeable pavements in managing tire pollutants?
A4: Permeable pavements act as filters by capturing tire chemicals and treating pollution at its source, helping to mitigate the impact on waterways and the coho salmon population.

Q5: What are the benefits of permeable pavements beyond saving salmon?
A5: In addition to protecting coho salmon, permeable pavements also help reduce health risks to humans by minimizing fine tire particles that can become airborne.

Q6: What specific chemical poses a threat to both coho salmon and human health?
A6: The toxic chemical 6PPD-quinone, which is present in tire wear particles, is hazardous to both coho salmon and human health.

Q7: Are permeable pavements a solution for all roadways?
A7: While permeable pavements show promising potential, their implementation may have challenges such as cost and road replacement efforts. They may not be suitable for all roadways, but further research is being conducted.

Key Terms:
Permeable Pavements: Special pavements that allow water to pass through, acting as filters to capture tire particles and treat pollution at its source.
Tire Wear Particles: Small particles released from tires due to wear and tear that contain various chemicals, including the toxic 6PPD-quinone.
6PPD-quinone: A chemical compound found in tire pollution that is lethal to coho salmon and poses health risks to humans.

Suggested Related Links for Further Reading:
Science of the Total Environment journal
National Wildlife Federation: Coho Salmon
Environmental Protection Agency: Green Stormwater Infrastructure

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