SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Rain is forecast in the San Diego-Tijuana region for the next few days, and that means tons of trash and other debris is also expected to flow into the U.S. from south of the border.
A lot of it will run through an area of California known as Smugglers Gulch just north of the border, a canyon that, when it rains, literally turns into a river of plastics, tires, toys and even car seats that originate in Tijuana.
But this time it might be different.
Members of WILDCOAST, an environmental group based in Imperial Beach, Calif., just installed a catch system in a canyon south of the border.
The trash booms float as the water level rises. These barrel-like flotation devices have a steel mesh that dangles beneath them in the water.
“The device will catch floating and inside-the-water debris, plastics and all kinds of solid waste,” said Fay Crevoshay of WILDCOAST.
Crevoshay expects the booms to catch tons of debris and prevent the materials from flowing into the Tijuana River Valley on the U.S. side of the border and ultimately the Pacific Ocean.
She says the booms and the installation were paid for by grants.
Crevoshay says this is only the beginning as they plan to launch education programs for the public in Tijuana.
“We want them recycling because in Tijuana there isn’t a lot of recycling, we’re trying to convince people to change their behavior and to stop using single-use plastics, like bags, water bottles and cutlery,” said Crevoshay.
Eliminating trash, especially plastics, from going into the Pacific will preserve wildlife and allow the ocean to generate more of the air we all breathe, Crevoshay says.