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July 29, 2013

WILDCOAST Leads Tour for CALEPA Secretary Matt Rodriquez

by Paloma Aguirre
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Effie May's Trail at Tijuana River Pilot Channel Confluence

On Wednesday July 24, 2013 WILDCOAST lead a tour of the Tijuana River Valley for CALEPA's Secretary Matt Rodriquez and a number of other state agencies following the California-Mexico Border Relations Council meeting.

The secretaries of the CA Environmental Protection Agency, CA Department of Food and Agriculture, CA Health and Human Services Agency, the Natural Resources Agency and the Governor's Office of Emergency Services met to discuss issues pertaining to the overall well being of the border region.

During the Tijuana River Valley tour, the secretaries learned of the cross-border pollution issues caused by the lack of adequate resources and infrastructure in the northern region of Baja California. Topics discussed were the need to implement the CA Recycling Tire Act, which was written and signed into law in 2010 to address the cross-border waste-tire cycle.

Every year, California exports a surplus of approximately 2 million waste tires to Baja, where, after an average lifespan of about a year, are disposed of. Many of these tires are often used to poorly engineer wall retainers or build stairways in some the very steep canyons throught the city of Tijuana.  Then, when the rain season begins, every year, thousands of tires are washed back across the border and are stuck in the riparian forrest of the Tijuana River Valley and Estuary. 

This costs taxpayers millions of dollars to be removed. The CA Tire Recycling Act would allow funds from the tire recycling fund to be used in waste tire recycling projects in Mexico and help create a market for recycled tire byproducts. Thus, helping break the tire-cycle and preventing tires from coming back across the border.

Additionally, the secretaries learned of the enviromental and public health impacts caused by the hundreds of tons of cross-border plastics, styrofoam and trash that are carried by the rains into the river valley and coastal areas of South San Diego. They also learned about the severe risks associated with sewage contaminated water carried by the Tijuana River impacting beach water quality at Border Field State Park Beach, Tijuana Sloughs, Imperial Beach, Silver Strand and Coronado.