I’ve been meaning to write this blog for awhile now, and after meeting a couple of great guys from the US Customs and Border Protection yesterday at a recruiting event — I’m even more inspired to write about this subject! Not only that, but I suspect this is truly a timely piece taking into consideration the elections this last week, campaign promises, newspaper articles on illegal immigration, and my concern about the environment.
My agency, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) last month launched a new website which spotlights the problem of border trash. Were you aware of the massive amounts of border littering left by persons involved in illegal immigration? It’s probably worse than you would imagine. Migrant trash left behind in the desert can reach up to 16 tons a day — and that is in Arizona alone! ADEQ estimates that 2,000 tons of trash (that’s 4,000,000 pounds) is left in Arizona’s borderlands each year. Discount the cost of picking up and transporting the trash, disposal of all this trash would cost somewhere between $74,000 and $98,000 in landfill fees.
All kinds of interesting trash gets left behind such as clothing, bags, backpacks, shoes, toothbrushes, blankets, plastic bottles, iPods, strollers, textbooks, bicycles, and vehicles. Border trash isn’t only a cosmetic problem. The trash left behind can be hazardous or toxic, especially to wildlife that tries to eat it.
With my limited amount of border trash knowledge, I had a few questions for the Border Patrol Agents. Yes, its true migrant jugs and bottles are painted black. They are painted black so individuals are not detected by the Border Patrol folks. Although the Arizona sun makes the water in the containers very hot, there’s less risk of them being detected – as dark absorbs light. Otherwise the container might send off a reflection from the sun making their whereabouts more apparent. All that trash that gets left behind? Much of it is left in “lay-up” areas. I have been told there will be an area the size of half of a football field full of garbage. These lay-up areas are the last stop (usually an hours walk from a road) where illegal immigrants clean up and get ready to enter US society so-to-speak.
We’ve all heard about the drug smuggling, kidnapping, and illegal immigration occurring on our borders, but I suspect this problem is probably one that many people haven’t thought of as far as the effects of illegal immigration. Illegal immigration is not just about public safety and impacts on the economy, it’s also about environmental health!
Looking for meaningful work? Heard it from a good authority that the US Customs and Border Protection is looking for 1,000 good workers in the next year!
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