TIJUANA (Border Report) — While the monitoring of ocean water quality is consistent north of the border, it’s almost unheard of in Mexico making beach closures extremely rare in Tijuana.
But in recent months, Baja California officials and environmentalists have been testing the bacteria levels more and more.
Results have led officials to warn people against getting in or near the water.
For the second week in a row, beaches in Tijuana remain off limits to swimmers and people who simply want to walk on the beach.
Five separate areas along the Tijuana coastline are reportedly being tested on a consistent basis and all continue to show pollution in the water.
Environmentalist Fernanda Rochín is urging people not to go in the water nor walk on the sand as it “serves as a filter where the bacteria collects.”
She says people could get respiratory illnesses, suffer rashes or develop intestinal issues and ear infections.
“We are using the same methodology that the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States uses,” said Rochín.
The pollution comes from a sewage treatment facility about 5 miles south of Tijuana near the coast that is in disrepair and constantly releases millions of gallons of untreated sewage into the ocean on a daily basis.
Currents push the effluent and bacteria to the north to beaches in Tijuana and north of the border to U.S. cities such as Imperial Beach and Coronado.
The pollution has led to beach closures in these communities most of the year, reducing the quality of life for residents and curtailing access to activities such as surfing and swimming, city officials tell Border Report.
Calls for Mexico to fix the issues have been going on for decades with little to no results.
The EPA has allocated millions of dollars to help mitigate another problematic area along the Tijuana River Valley between San Diego and Tijuana on the U.S. side of the border where more sewage from the city of Tijuana is dumped on, ultimately flowing to the ocean compounding the beach closure problem.