South Africa drought declared national disaster: T-minus 3 months to Cape Town’s Day Zero

South Africa drought declared national disaster: T-minus 3 months to Cape Town’s Day Zero

Feb 14, 2018

According to South African news website eNCA , on Tuesday February 13, South Africa  declared a “national disaster” over the drought that has ravaged parts of the country and threatens to leave the City of Cape Town absolutely without running tap water. In a notice published in the government gazette, the Department of Co-operative Governance said it had elevated the drought to a “national disaster” after it reassessed its “magnitude and severity”. Last week, Co-operative Governance minister Des van Rooyen said this classification means management of the droughts in the Western, Eastern and Northern Cape will move to national government. Van Rooyen said more than R70-million has been allocated to deal with the drought. If the city runs out of water in June, as expected, it will be the first major city in a developed country in the world to do so. At the same time, Day Zero, when Cape Town is expected to run out of water, has been pushed back from May 11 to June 1, the city said in a statement on Tuesday Feb. 13. This is “due to the continued decline in agricultural usage, and also as a result of Capetonians reducing their water usage in co-operation with the City of Cape Town’s efforts to bring down consumption,” it said. Earlier this month, the Groenland Water Users’ Association made 10 billion litres of water available by pumping it into the Steenbras Dam. However, residents have still not reached the daily target of 450 litres per day, which equates to 50 litres per person. Currently, usage stands at 526 million litres per day with dam levels at 24,6 percent. “If we continue to work as a team to lower our consumption to 450 million litres per day as required, we will become known as one of the most resilient cities in the world. We are fast becoming a leading example of a large city that is fundamentally changing its relationship with water,” the city said. “The city will continue to implement pressure management to reduce usage, to install water management devices at the properties of high users and to conduct blitzes to ensure that all water users adhere to the water restrictions. All preparations for the possibility of reaching Day Zero...

Once again sewage spill in Tijuana forces beach closures in San Diego County

Once again sewage spill in Tijuana forces beach closures in San Diego County

Feb 12, 2018

San Diego county beaches near the US-Mexico border remain closed on Monday Feb. 12, due to sewage-contaminated runoff from the Tijuana River. The shoreline was closed Sunday Feb. 11 and remains closed from the border to the northern boundary of the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife refuge after testing showed unsafe water quality. Officials also issued a precautionary advisory for the beach from the slough boundary to Carnation Avenue in Imperial Beach with both the closure and advisory set to remain in place until testing confirms water quality meets health standards, the agency said. The contaminated test came after a Friday morning incident in which a partial power failure at a Tijuana treatment facility allowed more than half-a-million gallons of water to flow through the Tijuana River across the border unhindered, according to the International Boundary and Water Commission. Officials sample the water quality in the area weekly, the environmental health department said, and sewage from the Tijuana River frequently results in closures during the winter rainy season. Source: CBS...

Federal Judge in San Diego to Hear Border Wall Challenge

Federal Judge in San Diego to Hear Border Wall Challenge

Feb 8, 2018

SAN DIEGO, CA — The Sierra Club and Center for Biological Diversity will present arguments on Friday February 9, in its lawsuit against the Trump administration’s border wall and prototype projects near San Diego. A rally against the wall will precede the hearing. U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel is presiding over the case, which has been consolidated with similar challenges from the state of California and other conservation groups. Curiel will hear arguments from both sides during the proceeding and could issue his ruling at any time following the hearing. “The border wall is absolutely against the core Constitutional values of the United States,” said Jill Holslin, a volunteer from Sierra Club’s San Diego Chapter. “Our country was built on immigration and our laws on protecting people, our environment, and safeguarding our freedoms.”   What: Federal court hearing challenging Trump’s border wall Where: U.S. District Courthouse, 333 W. Broadway, San Diego, CA When: Friday, Feb. 9; gathering in front of the courthouse starts at noon; hearing begins at 1:30 p.m. Media Availability: Attorneys and organizers will be available for media interviews outside the courthouse, before and after the hearing. Background The Department of Homeland Security exempted itself from more than 30 laws to rush construction of border-wall replacement projects and prototypes south of San Diego. But the waiver authority, granted by Congress more than 10 years ago, no longer applies. The Club and the Center expanded its lawsuit in September to include this issue. The border-wall replacement project would include 14 miles of new primary and secondary border fencing from the Pacific Ocean to Otay Mesa. This region of coastal San Diego County contains wetlands, streams and other rare wildlife habitats, as well as critical habitat for numerous endangered species. Beyond jeopardizing wildlife, endangered species and public lands, the U.S.-Mexico border wall is part of a larger strategy of ongoing border militarization that damages human rights, civil liberties, native lands, local businesses and international relations. The border wall impedes the natural migrations of people and wildlife that are essential to healthy diversity....

Pollution in Mexicali caused premature death of 304 citizens in 2017

Pollution in Mexicali caused premature death of 304 citizens in 2017

Jan 24, 2018

MEXICALI.- A study carried out by the Ministry of Health of Baja California determined that 304 cachanillas died prematurely last year. The deaths were caused by the problem of air pollution in the city. The State Secretary of Health Guillermo Trejo Dozal declared: “it is a fact that the air we are breathing in Mexicali is making us sick and proof of this is the increase in the number of patients attended by the health sector due to complications in respiratory diseases”. “In Mexicali, 304 premature deaths were estimated last year due to the high levels of air pollution, we had 537 hospitalizations, 25,860 consultations, and the cost calculated for direct health damages comes up to 25 million pesos,” Trejo Dozal said. One of the main air pollutants in Mexicali are dust particles, for this reason the secretary insisted that it is urgent to pave the streets of the city. “The paving of Mexicali is urgent, we can not be breathing this dust” he said. In addition to dust, the Health Secretary said that the Vehicle Emissions Verification Center is not a solution, because there are many old contaminating cars in the streets of Mexicali and the rest of the state. “We have a lot of junk vehicles, the Verification Centers are not working properly, we need to have adequate control on this matter, besides, we need social participation, stop building fires, burning tires and garbage, we need a cultural change.” On Tuesday January 23, several municipal and state government agencies participated in a meeting held in Mexicali with the aim of defining concrete actions that contribute to the improvement of air quality in our state. Source: Secretaría de Salud de Baja...

Lack of clarity in the results of pollution levels in Cerro Prieto

Lack of clarity in the results of pollution levels in Cerro Prieto

Jan 16, 2018

Almost two years after the Federal Government agreed to carry out studies on polluting emissions from the geothermal power plant in Mexicali, which was done by educational institutions in Mexico and the United States at a high cost, no formal information is given to the public yet. Mexicali, Baja California on January 12, 2018. – Representative of the Baja California Party (PBC) Jorge Eugenio Núñez described the process as “opaque and irresponsible”. The results were delivered on January 11, regarding the contamination levels generated by the Geothermal plant. Cerro Prieto, and according to the specialists, the figures are within the allowed spectrum.   “It seems irresponsible that no results are given to the people of the Mexicali Valley in such a sensitive issue. Absolutely no report, methodology or technical data is provided, not even to the media, “said the President of the Commission for Economic Development and Trade Binational. Núñez Lozano explained: “The investigation was demanded by citizens, and therefore, a Special Commission of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) carried out the study, without allowing the intervention of any other authority in the process of the investigation that was supposedly elaborated by researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the University of Berkeley, California, United States”. The results state that air pollution in the area is “within the tolerance ranges”, the levels of metals in the blood of the inhabitants are “within the margins”, and the water quality is “within the permissible levels”, but no details on the indexes of contamination established by international treaties or organisms are provided; so people don’t know if the situation is permissible for the environment and the human being. Data: · In May 1973, the Cerro Prieto Geothermal field began activities with the entry into commercial operation of the first two units of the Cerro Prieto I Power Plant. (II-2) · The Cerro Prieto V Geothermal Electric Field is the last one in the area put into service in 2012, which would cost more than 137 million dollars. (II-17), and it was projected that the investment would be recovered in 4 years. (II-18) · The budget determined for environmental protection measures of Cerro Prieto V would be less than...

State-level program needed to combat air pollution in Mexicali and Tijuana

State-level program needed to combat air pollution in Mexicali and Tijuana

Jan 12, 2018

The Secretariat of Environmental Protection of the State, said that it will respond to the State Commission on Human Rights, the work being done to reduce the levels of air pollution that exist  in Mexicali are way too high, specially the levels registered during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. The secretary, Thelma Castañeda Custoria, said that there is progress in the issue of the state capital because there is already a Pro-Air Committee, where there are responsible authorities such as Civil Society Organizations and the Academy. She stated that there is a need for new laws that prohibit, or at least control pyrotechnics, in order to move forward on this matter. Regarding Tijuana, she expressed that this city also has high levels of air pollution, and that the situation could be worse if Tijuana was not by the sea, which helps to purify the air. Castañeda Custoria concluded saying that the topography of Mexicali is a disadvantage in comparison to other municipalities, however, the idea is to create a state-level program. Source: Secretaría de Protección al Ambiente del Estado de Baja...