On u.s.-mexico border, mexicali has become a toxic dumping ground v gashi 2015


Mexicali and surrounding areas along the border have become a dumping ground for all sorts of junk, from old appliances to e-waste to discarded tires, some of which arrives from the United States. There’s money to be made here from some types of junk. Old cars can be dismantled for reusable parts. Old iron and copper can be resold or melted down to make new material. gas out game commercial And a whole host of businesses, both large and small, legal and illegal, focus on taking in discarded items and recycling anything of value.

In the junkyards, old cars are lined up row after row, baking in the sun and leaking oil onto the ground. The cars are cannibalized for their parts, and the battered remnants are trucked to the steel mill southeast of the city, where they are dumped along with metal scraps including pieces of old appliances, rusty iron cables and a mishmash of discarded railings, gates, racks and barrels, among other things. Atop a pile of junk that towered over the plant’s walls, a tricycle with pink tires protruded from the jumble of metal.

Elsewhere in Mexicali, where maquiladoras have proliferated to manufacture products for export, many dumps, scrapyards and recycling businesses have sprung up to take in waste from both Mexico and the United States. gas definition wikipedia While some of the businesses have licenses and say they are complying with environmental rules, many others are operating illegally.

While operating under that regimen, the companies need to track the raw materials they bring across the border, the finished products they export, and where they send their waste, said Roberto Durazo, director of business development for the Mexican company IVEMSA. His firm assists foreign companies and provides “shelter” services, acting as their legal representative in the country.

The documents show those companies receive things including lead-tainted waste from electronics welding, flammable solvents, pesticides, auto waste including lead and acid, corrosive substances, paint, contaminated soil, asbestos, sludge left over from chrome-plating, waste containing cyanide, lead-tainted slag from furnaces and other toxic chemicals.

Mexico’s federal database of pollution emissions includes not only companies’ self-reported air emissions, but also discharges of wastewater and waste that affects soil. The database shows that between 2005 and 2016, some factories and power plants in Mexicali reported contaminating soil with pollutants including arsenic, cadmium, cyanide, chromium, mercury, nickel and lead.

The Grupo Simec steel mill, despite the large slag heaps both inside and outside its walls, didn’t appear to have reported any pollution of the soil. Yet when water soaks into slag heaps at steel mills, researchers have found that metals, including chromium and manganese, can leach out. Steel slag generally produces highly alkaline drainage, which can taint the groundwater and nearby waterways.

In one study, Ley and other researchers simulated leaks of ammonia from 18 companies that store substantial amounts of the gas, which, if inhaled, can be fatal. Mapping danger zones around those plants, they estimated that 14 percent of Mexicali’s population is exposed to risks from potential ammonia leaks, and that is considering just one of the many toxic chemicals that are used in factories along the border.

Zeroing in on ammonia, the risks are higher not only because the city has agrochemical and food plants that use the gas, but also due to the “inappropriate location or the lack of safe distances between those facilities and the population, both of which are a product of the intense and haphazard growth the city has experienced,” the researchers wrote in the study.

In a 2011 report on Mexicali titled “ Atlas of Risks,” she and other researchers referred back to the 1960s, when highly salty agricultural wastewater from Arizona fouled the Colorado River, leading to stunted and dying crops downstream in the Mexicali Valley. gas cap light That crisis, which contaminated farmlands and outraged Mexican farmers, touched off a diplomatic crisis and eventually led to a 1973 agreement in which the United States guaranteed that the water reaching Mexico would have an average salinity level within an accepted threshold.

Ley and her colleagues found records showing hazardous waste has been dumped at a list of approved sites over the years, many of them in rural areas around Mexicali. They include one site where agricultural chemicals and solvents from maquiladoras were buried years ago; another where factories’ wastes were dumped; another that received metal scraps; another where truck manufacturer Kenworth disposed of fiberglass; another where hazardous industrial waste was taken until authorities found the site was polluting wells and shut it down; another waste site west of the city; and a radioactive-waste facility that was built in the 1980s.

In Brawley, for example, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control is requiring Chevron to remediate contaminated soil and groundwater on an 11-acre property where the PureGro Company produced and stored pesticides from the 1940s until the facility closed in 2000. The agency has proposed a cleanup that would involve removing some of the tainted soil and covering up the site with a “durable liner,” but residents have protested against that plan, saying it’s not enough to protect them.

None of those hazardous waste sites is in Mexicali, though the records show that a business called Temarry Recycling in the nearby border town of Tecate receives many U.S. waste shipments. j gastroenterol impact factor The exporters include landfills, metal-finishing businesses, cities, the U.S. Navy and American companies like Sherwin-Williams and Tesla Motors. The facility reports receiving flammable liquids, including solvents such as acetone, xylene and toluene, as well as other toxic liquids, flammable aerosols, paint, gasoline and other types of hazardous waste.

A 1986 agreement between the U.S. and Mexican governments lays out procedures and notification requirements for cross-border shipments of hazardous waste. The two governments recognized in the pact that if cross-border shipments of hazardous waste were improperly managed, that could endanger public health, and they pledged to make additional arrangements as appropriate “to mitigate or avoid adverse effects on health, property and the environment.”

In 2016, a Mexican business proposed to build a huge development in the desert southwest of Mexicali. The plan called for a solar plant, a residential area and an industrial zone where companies would store and recycle waste. The waste-storage part of the proposal alarmed environmental activists, who protested what they saw as a plan to bring in toxic waste from across Mexico and from the United States.

Temoc Avila, an activist in Mexicali, said it’s a bad idea to house waste in the middle of an active earthquake zone, near an aqueduct that carries Colorado River water, and in a part of the desert where rains can send runoff coursing down from the Sierra Cucapah mountains. gas house edwards co He said the company apparently didn’t consider the potential risks of putting waste next to the aqueduct.

The symptoms are everywhere to see: smashed cars and piles of scrap metal in the yonkes; old box springs and shattered plastic buckets along roadsides; mounds of plastic trash and tires scattered in the desert. All of it reflects a pattern of neglect that’s adding to the pollution along the dusty, smoke-filled streets near the border. A lawsuit and a fine