Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Polluted Tijuana River Named Nation’s 9th Most Endangered

The Tijuana River on the Mexico side of the US-Mexico border, near the San Ysidro Border Crossing. Photo Beto / iStock

The Tijuana River has been named the ninth most endangered river in the country due to the ongoing sewage and trash polluting its watershed and traveling into the Pacific Ocean.

The list was developed by American Rivers, a nonprofit organization that advocates for clean rivers in the United States.

Every day, millions of gallons of untreated sewage is dumped into the Pacific Ocean due to failed infrastructure on both sides of the border, an issue that both the U.S. and Mexico are working to address, although more funding is needed to fully solve the problem.

This pollution has been happening for decades.

The Tijuana River stretches 120 miles with a watershed that expands 1,750 square miles. More than 2.8 million people live in its vicinity, according to American Rivers. The river’s estuary is also the largest natural coastal wetland left in southern California.

“People are getting sick not only when playing in the
ocean or sitting on the beach, but also while standing in their own backyards from breathing in toxins,” the report by American Rivers reads. “Doctors are noting correlations between urgent care visits and coastal pollution events.”

The organization echoed what local residents, advocates, and politicians say: The federal government needs to fund fixes to failing infrastructure and continue to fund its maintenance, once fixed. Part of the reason the problem is so bad is because low funding has prevented proper maintenance on infrastructure.

The federal government included an additional $156 million in funding to address the matter in this year’s fiscal budget.

“Until enough political will is galvanized to prioritize this crisis–and provide the immediate relief and funding needed to solve the border water infrastructure problems once and for all,” the report reads, “border communities will continue to suffer, ecosystems will continue to be destroyed, and our beaches and tourism industries will continue to decline.”

The top ten most endangered rivers, as specified by American Rivers, are as follows:

  1. Rivers of New Mexico, NM
  2. Big Sunflower & Yazoo Rivers, MS
  3. Duck River, TN
  4. Santa Cruz River, AZ, SO (Mexico)
  5. Little Pee Dee River, SC, NC
  6. Farmington River, CT, MA
  7. Trinity River, CA
  8. Kobuk River, AK
  9. Tijuana River / Rio Tijuana, CA, BC (Mexico)
  10. Blackwater River, WV



Megan Kitt
Megan Kitt
Megan has worked as a reporter for more than 10 years, and her work in both print and digital journalism has been published in more than 25 publications worldwide. She is also an award-winning photographer. She holds BA degrees in journalism, English literature and creative writing and an MA degree in creative writing and literature. She believes a quality news publication's purpose is to strengthen a community through informative and connective reporting.Megan is also a mother of three and a Navy spouse. After living around the world both as a journalist and as a military spouse, she immediately fell in love with San Diego and Coronado for her family's long-term home.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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