Mexico is set to oppose United States President Donald Trump’s border wall on environmental grounds. But the debate will not begin until the wall’s construction is confirmed.
Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Rafael Pacchiano Alamán said this week it was clear that the project could cause considerable environmental damage.
Construction of eight prototypes for the border wall began September 26 in San Diego, California. Six contractors from across the U.S. were selected for the process, which is expected to take about 30 days.
Four of the prototypes are to be built out of concrete while other materials will be used for the other four. The walls are to range between 5.5 and 9 metres high and must succeed in one prevailing goal: “deter illegal crossings in the area in which they are constructed.”
Once built they will be tested by the Department of Homeland Security, which will pay between US $300,000 and $500,000 for each one.
Testing will be based on the walls’ capacity for “anti-scaling, anti-climbing, anti-digging and safety of border patrol agents,” said Tekae Michael of the U.S. Border Patrol.
Several of the prototypes have been erected.
Mexico’s environment secretary said his department has the necessary environmental arguments against the project.
“We will first wait for it to become a reality, and there is still a lot yet to be done; we’ve got all the arguments ready concerning the effects it would have . . . .” said Pacchiano, observing there would be an environmental impact on about 1,000 kilometers of the border.
He also said there are international organizations that have been kept informed of the border wall and that they would collaborate with Mexico.
The wall was a major campaign promise for Trump, who has also insisted that Mexico will pay for it. Mexico has expressed its opposition to the project and rejected the notion that it would pay.
VIDEO: Border wall prototypes being erected on Sunday in California.