By María González Amarillo
On Thursday, November 12, Congresswoman and candidate to Senate Loretta Sanchez met local officials at Border Field State Park. Her goal was to learn about the environmental challenges that this area faces, and how they are being sorted out. El Niño phenomenon is specially worrying.
“We are concerned about our land’s capacity to grab all this water when it comes and we fear that the infrastructures are not ready to deal with possible floods”, Sanchez remarks. “Environmental problems are always in my mind. I wanted to see first-hand what is going on and what we can do better.”
The excavation process requires year round of work. This permanent annual contract moves away sediments and waste from ponds. According to the current manager of the project Tom Hess, these bonds would overflow during the winter if they are not emptied, and they would cause floods and natural disasters all over the area.
“Both sides infrastructures can’t deal with all the water”, Wildcoast Communications Director Fay Crevoshay says. “And we found many more mosquitos in tires during this hotter summer that give yellow flu, poultry flu and dengue. We never saw this disease over here. This is an environmental, sea and human health problem.”
Wildcoast organization was founded in 2000 to fight against this type of problems. They have launched some campaigns to clean the Tijuana River. However, the problem came back again and again due to the quick growth of Tijuana population and it affects this city, Imperial Beach, Chula Vista, Coronado and even San Diego County because of the mosquitos’ proliferation in wet tires.
“Used tires are sold to Mexico and most of Tijuana people use them for their cars. After less than one year, they already need to change them and leave them in tires tanks. Then other people take them to try to build stairs, pavement, etc.”, Wildcoast Communications Director says.
“Since they are makeshift structures, tires drop and run along the mountains with the rain. There are tires everywhere in Tijuana and they get mixed with all kind of waste that falls from Tijuana, which is higher, to San Diego. It’s a countless amount of waste. Nevertheless, this is not only a problem from here but from the whole Mexico-US border”, she adds.
The retired senator Denise Moreno Ducheny accompanied Sanchez during her quick tour around the area. “I worked on this tires problem for twenty years. We achieved some improvements and legislations, but we are still at the starting point. That’s why we look for the support of congressmen and congresswomen and more people who are helping us.”
Loretta Sanchez assures that the memorandums of understanding, and the work that the Mexican and the U.S. sides do together enforces a good relationship between both countries, and should finally help to economically sort out the situation. “Don’t forget that we are talking about nature and human lives. The earlier we clean the problem, the better for everything and everybody around this region.”
The congresswoman expects to become the California Senator thanks to her 19 years of experience in politics. She is clear about the main matters she would work on. “First, we need a good understanding between Mexico and all the Latin-American countries and the U.S. We don’t have anybody who really represents our people at the Senate. I would be the first Latin-American in this position.”
“Secondly, immigration. People who come to the U.S. still don’t have any status or papers. I will work very hard to get our families together and be able to visit them in Mexico and anywhere else. And thirdly, the economy. Many Latinos don’t earn enough money in the United States yet to have a home, send their children to a good school and be successful. These are my three goals I want to deal with in case of being selected.”