Photo: Border health
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Mexico’s Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment just released the Border 2012 Accomplishment Report for 2010. The report highlights projects taking place within border communities through the Border 2012 program that ensures the protection of people’s health. The bi-national program focuses on cleaning the air, providing safe drinking water, reducing the risk of exposure to hazardous waste, and ensuring emergency preparedness along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“The Border 2012 Program showcases what two neighboring countries can do when they have a shared goal to protect health and clean up the environment. This program continues to be a model of collaboration and this report highlights what can be accomplished when we work together for one mission,” said Michelle DePass, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of International and Tribal Affairs. “As the national program coordinator, I am glad to collaborate with our state and local government partners, U.S. tribal nations and Mexican indigenous communities, and other stakeholders as we work to improve public health and the environment in our border communities.”
Some of the highlights include:
· Bi-national watershed awareness: “Dia del Rio” is an initiative to restore bi-national community awareness and public participation in the Colorado-Rio Grande watershed. More than 25,000 participants from the U.S. and Mexico participated in river cleanups, tree plantings, art exhibits and educational talks.
· Partnering with academia for solutions towards improving air quality: Through Border 2012, the University of Texas at El Paso examined options in bi-national traffic flow at the Bridge of Americas in order to determine the impact on air quality and pollution exposure.
· Engaging industry to recycle obsolete electronics: Through project leadership and public engagement at the local level, this Border 2012 effort to begin programs on recycling obsolete electronics has led to additional partnerships with bi-national universities and further expansion.
· Pesticide collection through bi-national state-level partnerships: More than 56,460 pounds of unused liquid and solid agricultural pesticides were collected through cooperation between state and federal agricultural agencies.
· Capacity development through tri-national tribal partnerships: Through cooperation of the Tohono O’odham Nation Office of Environmental Protection, the Border Environment Cooperation. Commission and Border 2012, the San Francisquito community was able to access clean drinking water.
Border 2012 is a U.S.-Mexico program that protects people’s health and the environment for 10 states on both sides of the 2,000-mile border, including 26 U.S. tribes and seven groups of Mexican indigenous people. The Border 2012 program continues to be a model of cooperation and collaboration between neighboring nations and continues to achieve tangible, on-the-ground health and environmental results within U.S.-Mexico border communities.