In an effort to curb “high priority” environmental problems along the U.S.-Mexico border, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) worked with Mexican officials last week to launch the "Border 2020 U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program." But while the program seeks to abridge pollution in many areas, it neglects to mention the 1,000 tons of trash abandoned by illegal immigrants crossing the border into the United States.
On August 8, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson met with Mexico’s Secretary for the Environment and Natural Resources Juan Elvira Quesada to green-light the new environmental program, which seeks to moderate pollution in air, water, and on land, as well as abate exposure to chemicals caused by inadvertent emissions or terrorism. The program is the latest effort administered under the 1983 U.S.-Mexico La Paz Agreement to address environmental and health concerns along the 2,000-mile border region. The Border 2020 Environmental Program hones in on five key areas:
Reducing air pollution in bi-national air sheds by promoting vehicle inspection programs and road paving, and encouraging anti-idling technologies such as diesel truck electrification at ports-of-entry.
Improving access to clean and safe water as well as improving water quality in the bi-national watersheds.
Promoting materials and waste management, and addressing contaminated sites as well as management practices for addressing electronics, lead acid batteries, tires, and trash.
Enhancing joint preparedness for environmental and emergency response.
Enhancing compliance assurance and environmental stewardship.
The Border 2020 plan asserts that “protecting the health and the environment in the border region is essential to ensuring that the U.S. continues to be safe, healthy, and economically productive.”
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Photo of trash left by illegal immigrants along the U.S.-Mexico border: AP Images