Thursday, September 28, 2023

‘Stop the Poop!’ Protesters Hit Coronado Beach, Currently Closed Due to Sewage Contaminated Water

Marely Ramirez leads a chant: “What do we want? Stop the poop! When do we want it? Now!” Megan Kitt / The Coronado Times

This year, Memorial Day kicked off a “summer of misery” – at least that’s how Laura Wilkinson Sinton, who is fed up with beach closures related to ongoing Tijuana sewage crisis, describes it.

“What do we want? Stop the poop!” chanted more than 50 people at a protest on Saturday. “When do we want it? Now!”

The protest was organized by Wilkinson Sinton and Marely Ramirez, who pulled it together in just three days after researching the extent of the sewage problem.

“This is a public health emergency, and our ultimate goal is to have it declared one by the federal government,” Wilkinson Sinton said in an interview before the protest. “Money solves a lot of problems. We want to draw attention to this and demand that our local, state, and federal officials take action.”

Angie and Annie Byars join Ray, Thomas, Charlie, and Cathy Thomas at a protest on Coronado Beach. Megan Kitt / The Coronado Times

The Biden administration included funding through the Environmental Protection Agency in this year’s budget to address the strained infrastructure that causes sewage to leak from Tijuana into South Bay shorelines. Mexico is also contributing funding.

But the allocated funds are not enough to fully resolve the problem, and the protest urged officials from the city, county, state, and federal levels to find more money for mitigation by declaring the crisis a public health emergency.

Laura Wilkinson Sinton addresses the sewage crisis at a protest she helped organize. Megan Kitt / The Coronado Times

Wilkinson Sinton and Ramirez plan to host more protests throughout the summer, and are collecting signatures on their website, Stop the Sewage.

“You need something like this if you want to dare to get close to the water,” Ramirez said, indicating the HazMat suit she wore to the protest. “This is a crisis in our community.”

Coronado City Council members John Duncan and Carrie Downey attended and spoke in support of Stop the Sewage.

“We’re facing what I consider, and I think most people consider, one of the top largest environmental disasters in Southern California and certainly in San Diego County,” Duncan said. “I ask (officials) to do everything in their power to help us.”

Chris Girardot and Veronica David at the Stop the Sewage protest. Megan Kitt / The Coronado Times

The protesters gathered on Coronado Beach. Just beyond them, a handful of surfers hit the waves while several kids chased the waves.

Coronado Beach on Memorial Day Weekend 2023. Bright yellow and red “Beach Closed” signs warn beachgoers to “Keep Out of Sewage Contaminated Water.” Megan Kitt / The Coronado Times

“This is a slow-moving disaster that has been going on for much longer for communities farther south,” Wilkinson Sinton said. “Coronado thought this was an Imperial Beach problem. I really hope Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, and La Jolla don’t think this is a Coronado problem.”

Video by Brad Willis:

Video can also be viewed on Facebook.

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Megan Kitt
Megan Kitt
Megan's work as a journalist has taken her around the world, from across the United States to Tokyo and Kampala, but her passion lies in community reporting. She believes a quality news publication strengthens a community by informing and connecting its members. She holds BA degrees in journalism, English literature and creative writing; an MA degree in creative writing; and her photography has been published internationally. While on a reporting assignment in Uganda, she founded Tuli, a fair trade fashion brand that earned her industry acclaim, most notably by earning her the title Designer to Watch at New York Fashion Week in 2022. Megan's diverse experience in travel and career taught her to approach reporting eager to understand the many experiences and perspectives that make life so interesting. When she's not working, you can find Megan wrangling her two toddlers, hiking with her husband, and binging podcasts.Have a story for The Coronado Times to cover? Send news tips or story ideas to: [email protected]