JANUARY 18, 2013
Great news! Tijuana just got its first urban composting center and it’s expected to produce 150 tons of compost that will be used to plant trees and nurseries throughout the Mexican border city.
The downside is that U.S. taxpayers financed the project thanks to the generosity of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has made its primary mission under Obama to bring environmental justice to poor and underserved communities nationwide. Though this isn’t officially part of that multi-million-dollar initiative it helps fulfill similar goals, albeit south of the border.
It’s the first center of its kind on the Mexican border region and it will ignite “urban greenscaping in Tijuana,” according to an EPA announcement that also reveals Uncle Sam doled out $93,000 to launch Mexico’s green transformation. The cash actually went to a group called Tijuana Calidad de Vida (Tijuana Quality of Life) so that it can develop landscape grade compost from landscape cuttings supplied by the municipality. Part of the money will be used to “raise community awareness on the benefits of composting and a path to zero waste.”
It’s all part of a bi-national program—largely funded by U.S. taxpayers, of course— to protect the environment and public health in the U.S.-Mexico border region, consistent with the principles of sustainable development. This includes a focus on cleaning the air, providing safe drinking water, reducing the risk of exposure to hazardous waste and ensuring emergency preparedness along the southern border.
How will Tijuana’s $93,000 composting center benefit Americans? It will help protect the environment on both sides of the border by reducing waste within the shared San Diego/Tijuana watershed that would have gone to landfills, according to an EPA regional director. It will also help build “municipal expertise on compost practices” to divert reusable, organic material from landfills.
Mexican officials celebrating the new urban composting center south of the border this month call it a “demonstrative project” that will benefit Tijuana’s parks and gardens with organic materials. An invitation to the public announcing the center’s big inauguration last week boasts that it’s all in the name of “una Tijuana Sustentable!” or a sustainable Tijuana. It should include; “gracias tio Sam” or thank you Uncle Sam.
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