"Cinders are dirty. Cinders are cheap. Cinders increase traction on snow- and ice-covered roads. What remains unclear is whether they do significant harm to the environment.
The city of Columbia has used cinders to provide traction on snowy and icy roads for years, but it has done so in the face of nearly constant complaints from residents who say they’re ugly and bad for the environment.
Late this winter, Second Ward Councilman Jason Thornhill helped persuade the Public Works Department to eliminate cinders from its anti-snow arsenal for at least one winter storm and to rely on salt and calcium chloride."