Volunteers take on Tijuana River Valley cleanup effort, but can only do so much

Border Report

SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Dozens of volunteers with the San Diego-based environmentalist group Spring Valley Cleanup Crew spent the better part of their day picking up trash and other debris from several areas along the Tijuana River Valley.

For decades, the area has literally been a dumping ground for millions and millions of gallons of raw sewage, toxic chemicals and trash that originate in Mexico.

Much of the materials flow all the way out into the Pacific Ocean, creating health issues for surrounding communities on both sides of the border.

Victoria Abrenica is a volunteer with an environmentalist group called Spring Valley Cleanup Crew. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

“That’s why we’re here trying to clean the river ourselves, trying to raise local and national awareness on this crisis,” said Victoria Abrenica, one of the volunteers.

Abrenica said she has done work for the San Diego Surfrider foundation sampling the water and the ecosystems within the valley, which lies just north of the border between Tijuana and San Diego.

“I found mountains of trash, mountains of diapers, condoms, microplastics and it was really upsetting,” she said.

Abrenica and the Surfrider Foundation has turned over all its findings to the County of San Diego, hoping it declares a state of emergency for the valley. So far it has not, although earlier this year it did declare a public health crisis promising to launch a cleanup effort.

Abrenica would like to see a lot more done.

“Entire ecosystems no longer exist, vernal pools that were here have been completely vanished and coming here and seeing how much toxic waste and how much it’s affected local communities and local wildlife, we don’t want to see any more ecosystems vanishing,” she said.

Border Report reached out to the County of San Diego to see what it is doing or plans on doing in the future to clean up the Tijuana River Valley. Our requests for information have yet to be acknowledged.

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