Toxi-tour caravan begins visits to Mexico’s pollution hot spots

Ten-day tour will take environmentalists, scientists and others to seven states

Environmentalists and scientists from Mexico and abroad are touring some of the nation’s most polluted places to raise awareness about environmental problems and denounce companies that cause them.

The Toxi-Tour México caravan, made up of representatives from Mexican, United States, Latin American and European environmental, labor and scientific organizations, started its journey on Monday in El Salto, Jalisco, where industrial pollution in the Santiago river has been blamed for the deaths of more than 1,000 people from cancer and kidney failure.

The 10-day tour will also visit pollution hot spots in municipalities including Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato; Apaxco, México state; Atonilco de Tula, Hidalgo; Tlaxcala; Puebla; and Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz. It will conclude in Mexico City on December 11.

At least three million people in those locations suffer health problems due to water, air and soil pollution, according to experts traveling with the caravan.

The Toxi-Tour will “denounce United States, Canadian, German, French, Spanish and Mexican companies” that cause environmental damage, said Andrés Barreda, a representative of the National Assembly of Environmental Victims, which organized the caravan.

The caravan members, including lawmakers from the United States and Europe, are meeting with local environmental organizations in the areas they visit as well as citizens who have been affected by both environmental problems and social conflicts.

In Atonilco de Tula, where the Toxi-Tour will arrive on Thursday, a public forum will be held to discuss environmental problems caused by cement plants, open-pit mines, limestone quarries and oil refineries.

In Tlaxcala on Friday, caravan members will learn about the community proposal to clean up the Atoyac–Zahuapan river basin, while on Saturday they will visit contaminated areas of Puebla city and speak with locals who have been dispossessed of their communal lands.

On December 11 in Mexico City, a final meeting of caravan members will be held after which they will issue a report that details their observations during the Toxi-Tour.

Source: La Jornada (sp), Somos el Medio (sp) 

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