Americans have spent billions of dollars to have clean water and healthy land and beaches, yet wealthy Mexico (#15 in world GDP) refuses to treat its waste adequately.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported last April that the “Imperial Beach, which stretches past the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge to the Mexican border, had portions of its shoreline off-limits to swimmers for more than a third of each year on average” (Focus: Tijuana pollution contaminates South Bay beaches at astounding rate).
Our government needs to smack the Mexicans into responsible treatment of their crud — they certainly can afford it, but would rather Uncle Sucker pick up the tab. Not with Donald Trump in charge.
WILLIAM LA JEUNESSE: There are two problems: the polluted Tijuana River flows north into the US; secondly Mexican waste that’s pumped into the ocean carries naturally into California. By law, Mexico is supposed to treat both and tell us when they don’t; officials say they’re not.
SERGE DEDINA, MAYOR OF IMPERIAL BEACH: You’ve got this plume of brown stenchy sewage. It was like a giant blob, like the blob moving forward up your beach and just filling your nostrils and everything, all your senses with the stench of raw sewage.
CHRIS HARRIS, NATIONAL BORDER CONTROL COUNCIL: Our guys understand the risks of law enforcement being shot at, being rocked, but what we won’t accept any more is working in basically a sewage or chemical waste dump.
LA JEUNESSE: The Border Patrol, surfers, anyone using this beach is exposed to Mexican waste.
HARRIS: I’ve personally got it on my arms and literally within a minute I’ve had a huge rash to the point my supervisor said go to the hospital.
LA JEUNESSE: This year 83 of 300 agents filed reports of being affected — chromium, cadmium, lead burns their boots. Swimmers immersed in e.coli get physically sick.
SWIMMER: It’s usually frothy, it stinks.
LA JEUNESSE: In February a spill in Mexico sent 250 million gallons of raw sewage and industrial waste into the US where the Tijuana River flows north over the border; 200 days a year officials closed Imperial Beach.
DEDINA: Unfortunately the United States government seems to be in the mode where everything’s fine, don’t worry about it.
LA JEUNESSE: Local cities are suing the US and Mexico.
HARRIS: Literally and pun intended, they don’t give a crap. Where’s the governor of California? Governor Brown is going around the world saving the world for the environment — God bless, but what about this environmental disaster down here?
LA JEUNESSE: So the bottom line is people are getting sick, Mexico is not poor — they have oil, have tourism, trade. It has money: officials just argue they’re choosing not to spend it on cleaning the water.