Saturday, June 15, 2024

Jalisco shutters business for polluting Santiago River

After a decade of ignoring the pollution of the Santiago River, the Jalisco government says it is taking action to clean it and other state waterways.

Governor Enrique Alfaro Ramírez toured a part of the river on Thursday and announced the closure of a company in the municipality of Ixtlahuacán for polluting the waterway.

Governor Alfaro also solicited the help of the National Water Commission (Conagua) and the Secretariat of the Environment to review a list of 29 companies that have been observed to be operating outside of federal environmental regulations for allowed water contaminants.

Called the Macro Excursion, the tour was organized by the governor after a report on the condition of the river by the Jalisco Human Rights Commission (CEDHJ).

The governor spoke out against the commission for its report, claiming his government has already spent “hundreds of millions of pesos” on the cleanup project, which he announced in 2018, days after taking office.

Alfaro announced during the tour that the Jalisco Water Management Secretariat had invested 800 million pesos (US $42.9 million) to renovate 19 water treatment plants, a project expected to be completed by the end of the year.

He said that there needs to be more communication between the government and the CEDHJ, as the latter had been unaware of recent government actions to clean up the state’s water system.

“What we need is a permanent advisory board and today I publicly ratify the commitment by the state government to create this board immediately,” said Alfaro.

He also announced the implementation of a new system of sewage canals, a water rehabilitation program and a statewide registry of water flows meant to identify the presence of heavy metals and other contaminants released by private firms.

The registry was instrumental in identifying the 29 companies up for review for possibly discharging contaminants into the state’s waterways.

“Zero tolerance, that’s the position of the government of Jalisco. We want there to be investment, but we want the investment to be friendly to the environment,” he said.

CEDHJ President Alfonso Hernández Barrón requested that the governor include environmental activists, human rights defenders and citizens on the advisory board to achieve that goal.

One of Mexico’s longest rivers, the Santiago originates at Lake Chapala, south of Guadalajara, and runs 433 kilometers on a northwest course to the Pacific Ocean. It is widely described as the most polluted river in the country.

Source: El Universal (sp), El Economista (sp)

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