Arizona steps forward and addresses border trash as a serious issueby Karl W Hoffman on Jan. 07, 2011, under Border Issues, Uncategorized
The environmental impact caused by illegal immigration, and the trash left behind or placed along the American/Mexico Border, is increasingly being found in areas that are more fragile and remote.
Border trash has gotten out of hand with more than 2000 tons of trash discarded anualy along the 370miles of the Arizona border. Illegal immigration is directly responsible for the discard of containers, clothing, vehicles, backpacks, hygiene and medical products, and human waste not to mention food containers and water jugs, left by the 10s of thousands, on human smuggling trails by humanitarian groups. This trash left behind is creating an adverse impact on vegetation, wildlife, natural erosion and causing water shed degradation.
In an attempt to draw attention to the trash the State of Arizona has established a website azbordertrash.gov for information and to seek volunteers to participate in cleanup efforts. The web site is funded by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.
Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.
Apprehensions of individuals by the U.S. Border Patrol as a result of illegal immigration vary every year. Current Border Patrol statistics indicate that about 110,000 border crossers will be captured during the current fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, and doesn’t count the many others who get through. The border crossers leave approximately six to eight pounds of trash in the desert during his or her journey. The cost of disposing of this trash is high for local communities. Landfill fees range from $37 to $49 per ton in Southern Arizona. These fees do not include costs for materials, equipment, labor and transportation for the collection and transfer of the trash to the landfill.
Characterizing the Impact
Accumulated border trash has been shown to affect human health, the environment and economic wellbeing. Impacts include:
- Strewn trash and piles
- Illegal trails and paths
- Erosion and watershed degradation
- Damaged infrastructure and property
- Loss of vegetation and wildlife
- Campfires and escaped fires
- Abandoned vehicles and bicycles
- Vandalism, graffiti and site damage (historical and archaeological)
- Occurrence of bio-hazardous waste