Like many well-intentioned ideas from the 1970s gone horribly wrong—leisure suits, prog rock, the Mustang II, the 8-track, and blowing Wilbur Mills leap to mind—the 1972 project to dump two million tires off the coast of Florida has come a cropper. What was supposed to be an artificial reef brimming with life has instead become an undulating 36-acre dead-zone on the sea floor:
"They thought it would be a good fish habitat. It turned out to be a bad idea," said William Nuckols, project coordinator and military liaison for Coastal America, a federal group involved in the cleanup. "It's a coastal coral destruction machine."
The small matter of securing the tires together so that they do not bulldoze the seabed as they move with the tides and the currents was overlooked. Actually, fasteners were used on the tires, but they quickly rusted away. Who knew?
Estimates are that it could take $5 million to pick up the tires, haul them back to dry land, and recycle them or bury them in landfill. As the Lord intended.