It’s an international environmental nightmare that will take years and billions of dollars to fix. In the meantime, an Imperial Beach-based environmental group is spending thousands to stop some of the trash that flows from Tijuana into San Diego County every time it rains.
“The water brings this mess,” sighed Fay Crevoshay while standing along the banks of a heavily polluted waterway in the Tijuana River Valley.
The creek was an offshoot of the Tijuana River. There were thousands of bottles, cans, and other pieces of trash piled up on both sides. Crevoshay said all of it traveled from Tijuana into the river valley near San Ysidro during previous storms.
“The smell is sewage!” Crevoshay threw up her arms.
Crevoshay is a policy director with Wildcoast, an environmental group that’s working on a solution for climate change and pollution along the U.S.-Mexico border.
She couldn’t exactly describe how she felt while staring at the incredible amount of trash.
“Frustrated and kind of scared. What are we doing?”
Crevoshay said the non-profit used its own funds to install a trash boom in one Tijuana neighborhood last year.
“We have picked up in 10 months, 72,000 pounds of plastic,” she smiled.
That’s 36 tons of plastic that will be recycled. Crevoshay said people on both sides of the border need to stop creating new plastics and recycle existing plastics.
Sadly, the trash boom can only stop the garbage humans can see. It doesn’t stop the raw sewage, toxins, and human waste that also travels with the water when it rains. That water travels out to the coast and very often closes the beaches between Imperial Beach and Coronado.
“It’s a different problem, which also exists, which is terrible.”
Crevoshay said that’s a problem that will take years and billions of dollars on both sides of the border to fix. In the meantime, she said the boom is a start.
She said Wildcoast hopes to install two more trash booms in Tijuana neighborhoods during the next two years.