Project Will Recycle 50,000 Tires to Prevent Zika Habitat Near Tijuana Border

Discarded tires near the Tijuana-San Diego border create the prime habitat for mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus.

California’s government is collaborating with Baja California this month to recycle about 50,000 waste tires in an effort to prevent a potential Zika habitat from forming in the Tijuana-San Diego border region.

The Policy Director at WILDCOAST, Fay Crevoshay, said the pilot program launched Thursday morning at Los Laureles in Tijuana, Mexico. The Mayor of Imperial Beach, Serge Dedina, and the Executive Director of the Regional Water Quality Control Board, David Gibson, participated in the event.

The tires create habitat for the Aedes species of mosquitoes to spread into San Diego from Tijuana, according to Crevoshay. This mosquito species transmits diseases such as Dengue fever, Yellow fever and Zika virus with devastating consequences.

In stormy weather, rain can sweep up waste tires into the Tijuana River. From there, the tires flow through international boundaries and harm the coastal ecosystems near San Diego, according to Crevoshay.

The tires negatively impact habitat and recreational resources in the Tijuana River Valley and nearby oceans, said Crevoshay. Altogether, the tires pose a notable threat to public health and the environment.

The pilot project will continue through April 2017. It’s funded by CalRecycle, the California State agency for recycling.

Crevoshay said the program marks a fresh collaboration between the public, private and social sector with combined efforts from the Secretary of the Environment for the State of California (SPA), the Promotora Ambiental SA de CV (PAS), GEN and the project’s lead WILDCOAST.

Its launch was also attended by officials from Baja California such as their Secretary of the Environment Thelma Castañeda, according to Crevoshay.

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