Photographer's Note


Please click this link to view a brief video on Tijuana River Canal that has been contaminated by renegade sewage flows from Tijuana, Mexico. The city's rapid growth rate has made it difficult for the city to construct and maintain an adequate sewage collection system to control these flows. Sewage which exceeds this system's capacity, as well as sewage that leaks from broken pipelines, crosses the border and dumps at a rate of 13-15 million gallons per day into the American town of Imperial Beach — the most polluted in California.

My friend Kiet Luu drove me from Los Angeles area to this familiar city of his and explained to me that Tijuana River is an intermittent 120-mile river on the Pacific coast of northern Baja California in Mexico and southern California in the United States. It flows through Mexico for most its course then crossing the border for its lower 5 mi (8 km) to empty into the Pacific ocean. During heavy rains it discharge results in a 40 square mile sewage slick that contaminates beaches from the US-Mexico border fifteen miles north to Coronado. The proliferation of industry in Tijuana has also caused the discharge of toxic waste into the Tijuana River.

Each night, as the cat-and-mouse game of illegal immigration plays itself out along the hillsides, wastewater flows into the valley from Tijuana's overburdened sewage system, rushing through the narrow canyons and eventually flowing into the river and estuary. It has a strong odor, redolent of human waste and chemicals. In addition to carrying household wastes, they are filled with industrial contaminants and agricultural chemicals, including DDT. Small rocks, dislodged by the water, tumble down the hillside and litter the roadway. Wherever large quantities of raw sewage inundate the local surroundings diseases such as malaria, dysentery, and hepatitis tend to flourish.

Sewage from Tijuana has been flowing into the Pacific Ocean for over six decades. Some people living within and around Tijuana are exposed to dangerous levels of toxins. Their drinking water is polluted. Cases of tuberculosis have been found to be increased in San Diego County hospitals. Women on both sides of the border are giving birth to children who are deformed: some are born without brains; some have deformities; and some are retarded.

Believe it or not, Tijuana is a battlefield where the processes of power and social life are always in play.

* This picture has been taken from the overpass connecting the border crossing and main part of city, looking NW where the river canal empties into the final 5-mile strip in US side.
* I am a stranger to this city. The above notes are just a compilation of what I learned from Kiet and his wife, along with what I found here and there online.


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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 472 W: 125 N: 2331] (8456)
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