Hemmed in by three freeways and backed up against the border and port of entry, San Ysidro residents are exposed to an unceasing stream of air pollution from millions of vehicles passing through the community that is the busiest gateway to Mexico.
Over the years residents have expressed concern about the air pollution, pointing to an unusually high number of asthma cases.
Now, as the U.S. government works to expand the border crossing, San Ysidro residents are bracing for an even busier border – and all the health effects that might come with it.
David Flores, community development officer at the advocacy group Casa Familiar, said there has never been an effort to collect data to determine if the asthma and car exhaust are linked.
The border expansion has heightened health concerns as calls for an air pollution study of the community have gone unheeded, Flores said. So, San Ysidro residents, led by Casa Familiar, have obtained $229,935 in funding from CalEPA to do their own air-pollution study.
The two-year program will include 12 air pollution monitors being built specifically for the project by University of Washington scientists. The equipment will be placed in different areas of the community to collect air-pollution data.
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Kudos to San Ysidro for taking this step. The border entry pollution is only the tip of the iceberg regarding Tijuana as a source of pollution. The brown cloud from Tijuana is obvious and often massive. Is Mexico planning to do anything about it?
And where, pray tell, was the city council member supposed to represent San Ysidro in this story? He wasn’t mentioned; is that an oversight? Seems like a natural for someone who aspired to be mayor recently, a largely Latino community with what appears to be a legitimate gripe about air pollution.
Here’s the deal: David Alvarez is owned by organized labor. Don’t take my word for it; check his campaign contributions at the City Clerk’s web site for confirmation. The thing is, the unions don’t have much going in San Ysidro, so Alvarez has more important things to do, like lobbying for minimum wage increases, than being concerned with the health of his constituents next to the border.
The biggest producer of air pollution is the border crossing from Mexico back into the U.S.When both countries agreed to enlarge and modernize their entries, the Mexicans had their’s operating in less than a year.Cars do not pile up at the gates.On the U.S. aside, work is still under way and the waits are as long as ever, often taking an hour or more in line with engines running.THIS is what should be studied for improvement.
Restrict normal vehicles to 1 lane (hybrids, electric cars, and bicycles can use the other lanes), and charge a fee proportional to the number of cars currently waiting in line. Emissions problem solved, and as a bonus it will cut down on time waiting at the border and provide a revenue source to pay hospital bills for respiratory ailments.
The prevailing winds in this area blow from West to East, off the ocean and into the interior, except when Santa Anas obtain. I wonder how the air quality is East of SY, near the truck crossing at Siempre Verde and Koll Dr.? I also wonder how strictly the laws against idling Diesel engines are being enforced, as well as smog checks upon vehicles operating in and through the area, especially those from outside the USA. We are entirely within our rights in requiring all vehicles, whatever their origin, ownership, or destination, to pass smog tests before being driven on CA's roads and highways. Once, as I suspect, a lot of the problem is determined to be caused by "unsmogged" cars and trucks registered outside of CA and the USA, we need to ensure that they are properly smogged before being allowed to use our roads again. And, we should also be monitoring Mexico's enforcement of its own air quality laws. As close as we are to the border crossings, it can be done economically and unobtrusively by simple observation of how trucks process on the Mexican side of the border. These factors need to be considered in analyzing and solving this problem as well