Forgotten for years by government at all three levels, the lagoons and wetlands of the Colorado River delta are getting attention from the citizens of Baja California, who have stepped up to the tasks of clean-up and reforestation.
For two months, municipal, state and federal governments have been discussing a management plan for the lagoon area, but the people of Mexicali grew tired of waiting and, under the banner of the non-governmental organization Comité Ciudadano Salvemos Las Lagunas (Save the Lagoons Citizens’ Committee), went to work.
The NGO had been requesting since at least 2014 that authorities take steps to stop pollution of the area but official efforts have yielded few results, if any.
Unofficial efforts have been more successful.
For several weekends now citizens have removed tens of kilograms of waste from the Campestre, México and Xochimilco lagoons.
“We’ve organized our community, and we’re working on restoring the area and in preserving it for future generations,” said César Angulo Corral, a member of the Save the Lagoons Committee.
“As citizens participate and make the site their own, the efforts are more lasting,” said an environmental researcher from the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC).
Jorge Ramírez Hernández said that as the city grew around the lagoons authorities forgot them, never allocating the necessary funds to preserve them so they could be habitat for bird species and a recreational area.
The specialist observed that all efforts to restore and preserve the lagoon and wetland area should be overseen by the National Water Commission (Conagua).
“Conagua does monitor the water quality . . . but we do not know what results it has been obtaining,” he said.
The municipal government of Mexicali has stated its interest in protecting the area, which has been affected by several issues such as the disposal of solid waste.