Articles

Fetid mistake: Pollution in our water

Ismael. México. 14 years old.

We live in an irresponsible and not very empathetic with the environment country; perhaps trends are changing, and people are becoming more aware of the damage our speci?es causes to the planet, but how do we deal with these problems? or who fulfills their role and who does not? from an irresponsible citizen, to an incompetent public official, there are colossal errors in all places, that are measured in health and disease. Maybe we get that annoying smell on the side of our house, but at what price?

A sewage pipe discharging waste into the river.

To better understand the subject, and where we are going, we dedicated ourselves to doing a series of interviews with experts in the field; the research is carried out in local areas: in La Cañada, municipality of Huixquilucan, in the State of Mexico; in this area there is a village through which a stream cross. This is the main source of clean water in the community.

The graph shows the population growth of 1950-1990 of the area of Huixquilucan, Edo, Mex. [4].

Our history goes back to the 1980s, in this year there was an exponential growth of population, whose number went from 33,527 to 78,149 233% growth in 10 years) [4].

The region had an accelerated growth; La Cañada was quickly populated and had to move from a model of burning or setting aside waste, to something much more efficient.

It was this decade when the construction of the systems with septic tanks (large volume holes in the ground where human waste is discharged) were functional for a while, but the growth did not stop; and individual septic tanks ceased to be a viable option. 

Potable water mixed with fecal water. La cañada, Huixquilucan.

So, the government intervened, and in the 2000s, the government began with the construction of a common septic tank (which would connect with the entire town), that would prevent the misuse of space and make it much easier to discharge. But like the previous alternative, this one reached its peak, the sewage began to accumulate to the point where it overflowed inside the houses; this was the moment when the decision was made, and the town opened the pit by unloading it into the stream… it was the worst alternative, as it broke the ecosystem.

The ideal would have been to install a pipe drainage system (it was ruled out due to the distance and complexity of maintaining the underground drainage system), or to build a wastewater treatment. 

But the cost in the quality of life and in environmental deterioration?

The government decided to ignore the environmental and health impact, privileging economic gain.

This caused pollution in several bodies of water (ramifications of the aforementioned river), environmental deterioration; in addition to being a worrying focus of infection where rural communities that obtain water through these rivers have ended up affected, with the probability of suffering from diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid fever and poliomyelitis (it is a terrible dilemma, since it is estimated that 95,000 children under 5 years of age die a year because of the input of contaminated water in Mexico) [5] in turn, this event led to the degradation of nearby fauna and weakening of adjacent flora, breaking with the entire ecosystem.

A fecal water pipeline dropping into the potable water. La cañada, Huixquilucan.

We obtained that less than 4% of the distribution system of drinking water and pipes work correctly, having a loss of approximately 30% of the water that runs through these systems. This problem is repeated in the system of collection of sewage or waste. [2]

The administration of the affected people has asked the government for help on multiple occasions; In an interview with representatives of La Cañada, we could see that the town has been negotiating with the municipal government for more than 8 years to get a sewage treatment plant, to which it has repeatedly refused, because in the eyes of some organizations its low economic contribution detracts from their value and importance compared to other communities capable of paying for the service [3].

What is the solution?

Different paths that La Cañada could take to solve its problem are being investigated, such as the construction of a treatment plant with the help of third parties, or perhaps with private financing. But it is not only about financing, another problem is the unconsciousness and ignorance of many people in the face of the ominous damage they are causing to many communities, so instructing citizens to be much more responsible with the environment, and not just talking at the level of waste; also volunteer campaigns to clean up green areas, which help maintain the ecosystem would help mitigate pollution.

In conclusion, the existing problem has to do with the lack of empathy of the local government and with the disinformation and ignorance of civilians, this causes severe consequences both for those responsible, and for other communities.

Today, La Cañada Huixquilucan is a clear example of what happens in Mexico; negligence, lack of collective responsibility, and poor visibility and attention to urgent problems.

Let’s try to recover the efforts and interest in improving our environment, we all have the right to live with fullness and health. Let us not let greed or laziness obstruct the way to a better world.

If you are interested in being part of the real change visit http://www.agua.org.mx, there are different tools that will help you improve your point of view, and where you can know the plausible information that hides our world, let’s prevent a catastrophe. [1] Shall we act before it is too late…

References

  1. “AGUA.org”, telephone interview, February 2022.
  2.  “Feliciano” Engineer, CONAGUA, telephone interview, February 2022. 
  3. “Pedro Velázquez”, “forest ranger”, “COPACI”, telephone interview, February 2022.
  4. https://www.ipomex.org.mx/recursos/ipo/files_ipo/2015/33/4/800e6b458aaad7e0c9c08940120fe589.pdf
  5. https://aristeguinoticias.com/2203/mexico/95-mil-menores-de-5-anos-mueren-por-beber-agua-contaminada-unam/

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