BORDER ENVIRONMENT

By Ana Vinas and Kelly Simmons

In November, it was announced that a new alternative for treating Ciudad Juarez’ raw sewage (Aguas Negras or “Black Waters”) would be 20% cheaper than a conventional sewer treatment plant. The alternative treatment would not clean up the water well enough for human use, but it could be used for irrigation of parks and agricultural crops, according to researchers at the Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez (UACJ).

The treatment system, which involves collecting wastewater in a septic tank and removing solids before passing the water through a purification filter, does not require the use of much electricity or chemicals and it is easy to install. However, a large amount of space is required (30 cubic meters of land for each cubic meter of water). Another advantage is that the treated water will not contain chlorine, which is not good for the environment.

Meanwhile, ecologists called up authorities in Chihuahua to say that “no matter the cost, the state’s rivers must be cleaned up.” They announced the contamination problems caused to the rivers may in some cases be irreversible. Fertilizers and insecticides reach the river in the form of nitrates, which are causing problems that can already be observed in the fish, in some areas. These fish are showing the development of some types of unusual bumps. They also called for water treatment plants to be installed in all the important rivers, so the water can be conserved for future generations.

In other news, Jorge Bustamante, Director of the bi-national Border Environment Cooperation Commission (Consejo Directivo de la Comision Ecologica Fronteriza, Cocef) called for both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border to to begin environmental infrastructure construction in order to better the living conditions of the border population. The BECC (Cocef) estimates that bringing the border up to a satisfactory will cost between $8 and $10 billion dollars. The most important areas needing improvement are water treatment, and trash collection.

Finally, Profepa (Environment Protection Department) announced they will come up with a burning schedule for the winter months to be followed by the brick factories in Ciudad Juarez. The schedule will show which times the ovens can be used in order to help save the environment. They also advised the brick makers that they should only use approved fuels and they must not be mixed with the illegal ones. Anyone breaking the rules will be sanctioned.

Sources: El Norte, Diario De Juarez


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