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In addition to the problems of air and land pollution, water contamination is a subject of growing concern to environmentalists and public health officials. The explosive growth of commercial and trade industries in the once-remote border regions have created an urban population much faster than utilities and infrastructure can keep being developed. The 1950 mile U.S. – Mexico border is largely demarcated by rivers which drain into both the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Unfortunately, as a result of the urbanization of the border among many other factors, these rivers have become clogged with pollution— cleaning water contamination is the number one goal of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Border 2012 program.

   The Tecate Creek in Baja California, home to the brewery of Tecate brand beer, was the target of the EPA’s first cleanup as part of the Border 2012 program. As part of the clean-up, the bi-national group removed over eighty abandoned cars from the creek. The New River, like the Tecate Creek, flows through both the United States (California) and Mexico (Baja California), and is popularly considered the most polluted river in North America. Ocean pollution is the end result of river pollution, destroying a huge source of food and jobs for both countries while damaging a global resource: pollution from the Rio Grande and Mississippi River have created an annual coastal “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, an area where nitrogen levels in the water are too high for life to exist. Many rural and urban border communities are forced to directly or indirectly rely on polluted rivers or contaminated water sources for drinking water, causing a myriad of unpleasant and sometimes fatal diseases such as typhoid, cholera and dysentery.

   Addressing water pollution is paramount to economic and social development on the border regions. A functional and progressive urban society conducive to trade and commerce along the U.S. – Mexico border is unthinkable without a basic necessity such as drinkable water. Through technology sharing, enforcement of identical waste disposal standards and more efficient and cleaner commercial technology, a U.S. – Mexico alliance has the ability to clean up the rivers and waters that citizens of both countries depend on.