This City's Air Is Killing People. Here's Why...
Cities on the U.S.-Mexico border suffer in toxic air. The pollution is making people sick and cutting lives short. Little is being done to stop it.
A suffocating brown haze hangs over Mexicali.
Clouds of smoke billow out of the city’s factories and float through neighborhoods where children run and play in the dusty streets. Soot rising from smokestacks mixes with exhaust from traffic-clogged avenues and columns of smoke swirling from blazing heaps of trash.
When acrid fumes and particles fill the air, the pollution stings the nasal passages, grates in the throat and leaves people coughing and wheezing.
The air along this stretch of the border is so polluted it’s killing people. The tiny airborne particles ravage human lungs, triggering asthma and other chronic diseases. Children as young as 6 have been among the victims. The air leaves countless other people coping with illnesses throughout their lives.
The poisoned air drifts across the border into the United States and California’s Imperial Valley, entering the smaller city of Calexico. The pollution here regularly violates U.S. air-quality standards, and children in Imperial County are taken to emergency rooms for asthma at one of the highest rates in the state.
The air pollution that plagues the Mexicali area isn’t just some of the worst in Mexico. It’s also some of the worst particulate pollution measured anywhere in the Americas.
Factories along the Mexican border pollute the air and water in neighboring cities at deadly rates, while government regulators fail to rein in those responsible, Ian James, writing for the (Palm Springs, CA) Desert Sun reports.