Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tijuana River Explodes With Trash & Sewage

[click any image in this blog for a larger view]

As written about previously in this blog…the Tijuana River crosses from Mexico into the US in extreme southern San Diego County. The important things to know about this unique regional feature are that:

1) There are little or no recycling programs in Baja California; nor is trash collection there at the standard that US residents are accustomed to.

2) Sewage plumbing and processing in Tijuana is not at the standard that US residents are accustomed to.

3) Some Tijuana residents use old tires to construct earthen retaining walls in the loose, crumbling local soil.

4) Three quarters of the Tijuana River watershed is located in Mexico.

5) The local topology is not flat – and is characterized as mesas and canyons.

6) When it rains hard in this region, the outfall of this river is the transport mechanism for mind-boggling volumes of sediment, garbage, sewage, tires, debris and…yes, plastics as they race to the nearby ocean.

7) On the US side, the Tijuana River estuary can act as a partial “filter”, capturing some of what flows downstream, before it gets to the ocean.

8) Not everything that flows down the river is stopped before it makes its way to the ocean.

9) Each time it rains, a new layer of infectious sediment and debris is deposited atop the last one, creating a stratified riverbed comprised primarily of layer upon layer of mud, tires and miscellaneous flotsam.

Surfrider San Diego created “No B.S.” (border sewage), a campaign designed to bring attention and action to this multi-tiered problem. It has partnered with the Tijuana River Citizens Council and other enviro groups raise awareness to the problem and to grow all attempts at capturing and stopping the debris flow – as well as to extract the deposited items during dry episodes. No blame is placed as to the source of the problem – it is known as a “cross-border” situation that both countries need to address.

[click any image in this blog for a larger view]

The team has made available scores of photos (here and here and here), and maintain their own blog with more details of the problem, related stories (from both sides of the border) and information on how you may be able to help.

Take time to at least look at the eye-popping photos...and don't believe the line that "it never rains in California"!

Check 'em out, help 'em out and buena suerte a todos!