Workers remove trash from the Grijalva river. Workers remove trash from the Grijalva river.

River a garbage dump for 15 municipalities

State, federal authorities have been removing 22 tonnes of trash daily

Heavy rain in Chiapas means even more solid waste pollution in the Grijalva river and the Sumidero Canyon, where 29 cubic meters of trash, close to 22 tonnes, are being removed every day due to recent rainfall.

The source of the trash — mostly plastic, discarded wood and construction waste — are Tuxtla Gutiérrez and 14 other municipalities located on the river, which begins in Guatemalan, meanders through Chiapas and Tabasco and pours into the Gulf of Mexico, picking up garbage and sewage along the way.

The state government accuses residents of throwing trash into streams and drains, which in turn carry it to the river.

The state Civil Protection office has warned citizens against throwing garbage on the streets or leaving it out when garbage trucks fail to show (although no alternative was offered should that occur) because it too will finish up in the river.

Another strategy to reduce the garbage volume is to monitor riverfront properties to ensure trash is not being deposited on the banks of the river. The state has announced it will fine those who do.

Along with the trash problem, there are at least 135 different locations along the Grijalva river where untreated wastewater is discharged.

The source of 30% of the wastewater is residential while farming activities produce 55%. The state government did not indicate where the other 15% comes from, nor how its plans to deal with the contamination.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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