In the coastal zones and
the marine environment, pollution occurs around the urban
settlements, in the areas for commercial fishing and tourism,
and near industrial plants to a lesser degree. Improvements to
garbage and sewage disposal would tremendously improve the
state’s waste management. Privatization of collection services
could be one opportunity to manage this more efficiently.
Despite the impact on
coastal and marine environment (and individual health) from
other types of water contamination, garbage on the beaches is a
very public and prevalent nuisance (used tires, casings,
mechanical pieces, flexible plastic waste, miscellaneous
containers, pieces of branches, and solid waste in general).
The large municipal landfills also continue to be a high
priority -- the plagues of flies, mosquitoes, rats, and domestic
and street animals are visible public health threats.
Pollution that has
resulted from increased tourism is more of an indirect problem
that could potentially be solved through improved urban
planning, regulatory enforcement, and updated infrastructure.
For example, in the marinas of Cabo San Lucas and La Paz, oil,
cleaning products, paint, and sewage are dumped overboard; these
practices also occur offshore near the islands and in the
secluded bays that are commonly used for anchorages and coastal
There are approximately
nine million used tires in and around La Paz, located in
official and unofficial dumps. Regulations to the contrary
aside, tires are imported on a daily basis from the U.S. that
have been used and discarded. Sometimes, fires break out,
creating toxic plumes that must burn themselves out because the
local fire department does not have the proper equipment to
extinguish them. They are also a breeding habitat for
mosquitoes, the vector for dengue and hemorrhagic dengue.
Examples exist in many places for recycling used tires, using
them for playground surfaces, as a replacement for asphalt, and
for recreational facilities and schools.
ii. Hazardous and Industrial Waste
Waste from the fishery
slaughterhouses is frequent in coastal zones throughout the
state, but its volume is small because it coming mainly from
small-scale, riverside fishing. However, in the shellfish
fisheries (catarina scallop and
mano de león oyster) in the Pacific Ocean and in the
squid fishery in the Gulf of California, the waste is disposed
of directly on the beach and into the sea. In addition, trawl
and flake fishing contribute considerably to organic
contamination even though the fleet is relatively small. This
practice is called “bycatch disposal”, defined as non-target
fish, reptile, and marine mammal species that are thrown dead
back into the sea. Although the Upper Gulf of California
Biosphere Reserve is generally cited as the main area threatened
by “bycatch disposal”, this could be a problem is areas such as
the Magdalena-Almejas lagoon complex, which contains 90% of the
Baja California Sur’s shrimp fishing.
Industrial liquid waste
is also visible to the general public,
mainly from spent oil waste in mechanical and private shops.
state government signed the Agreement for the Prevention,
Control and Combating of Contamination of the Marine Environment
due to waste water and other discharges into the sea, which four
coastal states along the Gulf of California took part in after
an initiative from the Navy. Inspection and surveillance
actions are a major part of this agreement. As a result,
agreements have also been signed with UABCS, CIBNOR, and the
Interdisciplinary Marine Science Center (CICIMAR) to focus on
sea bird and sea lion protection.The greatest threat is
to the San José del Cabo estuary, which has been affected by
nearby construction and water pollution to the maximum extent.