1000 Tyres Project

About Us

The SHIPS Project

About the 1000 Tyres Project

The 1000 Tyres Project aims to remove tyres and other pollutants from our marine environment, starting by cleaning up Plymouth Sound in Devon, UK.  The first tyre was recovered in November 2020 and the team have now removed tonnes of rubbish from the sea and foreshore.  Tyres pollute the sea by producing large quantities of microplastics and by leaching poisonous chemicals into the water, so we decided to remove as many as we can.

The 1000 Tyres Project team work underwater and on the foreshore, we map the seabed using sonar and map the foreshore on foot, identifying the rubbish and recording its location.  The tyres and rubbish are recovered by volunteers or by commercial diving contractors on bigger jobs, then it is sent off to be recycled by our commercial supporters.  The project team also spend time educating the public and stakeholders about the problems of rubbish in Plymouth Sound.

The 1000 Tyres Project is run by The SHIPS Project CIC, led by Mallory Haas and Peter Holt, and is funded through donations and grants, with manpower provided by a team of unpaid volunteers.

What are we going to achieve?

  • We will be helping to clean up Plymouth Sound.
  • We will highlight the problem of discarded tyres and other junk dumped in the sea and on the foreshore.
  • We will identify new and environmentally sustainable methods of recycling tyres, marine plastics, and GRP.
  • We will provide education and information to help reduce the amount of new dumping.
  • We will involve the people of Plymouth in a great environmental project.
  • We will engage the local sport diving community in an underwater project that benefits themselves, the marine environment, and our underwater heritage. Sports divers will be used to confirm the identity of some of the objects located by our surveys, to recover tyres and other marine litter and to investigate any potential heritage sites.
  • We will map all the man-made objects on the seabed within Plymouth Sound and estuaries, such as tyres, shipwrecks, seagrass beds, lost moorings, cables and discarded fishing gear.

How did the 1000 Tyres Project start?

While we were looking for shipwrecks in Plymouth Sound we found hundreds of tyres and other rubbish that had been dumped in the sea. The idea to clean up Plymouth Sound came from a conversation with Luke Pollard MP in a coffee shop in May 2019, and from there the 1000 Tyres Project was born. Since then, we have been experimenting with how to efficiently recover tyres and other junk from the seabed. We have also been putting together ways of disposing of this waste that is both cost-effective and environmentally friendly so that the process can be repeated in other harbour locations.

The SHIPS Project

About The SHIPS Project

The SHIPS Project CIC is a volunteer non-profit organisation that undertakes research and exploration of maritime historical sites and events, both on land and underwater. We also provide consultancy services in maritime heritage for projects in southwest England.  Since 2020 The SHIPS Project has also been running an environmental clean-up initiative in Plymouth Sound called The 1000 Tyres Project.

The SHIPS Project is based in Plymouth, England, and the focus of our work is centred on that city. The work of The SHIPS Project is undertaken by unpaid volunteers, but the project was kindly sponsored by the US research foundation ProMare from 2010 to 2016. In 2021 The SHIPS Project became a Community Interest Company (CIC), a special type of limited company which exists to benefit the community rather than private shareholders.  The SHIPS Project is assisted by several commercial organisations, institutions, and universities that provide technical support and in-kind donations.

You can visit The SHIPS Project website here what3words.

As a city we have to not only stop putting plastics into our oceans, we need to devise ways to remove plastic pollution and marine litter from our seas. The 1,000 tyres project really is the best of Plymouth combining our first-class marine science with our city’s diving expertise. I am fully backing this project and think it has the potential not only to lift and recycle the 1,000 tyres in the Sound but be expanded nationwide. Once again, Plymouth is leading in looking after our oceans. I could not be prouder of the work that has been done. I cannot wait until all 1,000 tyres are retrieved that will make the Plymouth Sound National Marine Park a little bit cleaner and less polluted. We have a lot of work to do, so please do back this project if you can.

Luke Pollard MP, November 2020

Click the images for a larger version

Divers recovering a tyre from Plymouth Sound [1000 Tyres Project]
Mallory with the haul of tyres [1000 Tyres Project]
Gordon and Jo [1000 Tyres Project]
Lost fishing gear wrapped around a shipwreck in Plymouth Sound [1000 Tyres Project]

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