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Trash piling up faster along border with Mexico
|Last Edited||Jason Jan 30, 2012 05:53am|
|News Date||Sunday, January 29, 2012 01:00:00 PM UTC0:0|
|Description||RIO RICO, Ariz — Picking her way into the desert brush, Raquel Martinez gathered scores of plastic water bottles tossed in an Arizona desert valley near the Mexico border, often by migrants making a risky trek into the United States across increasingly remote terrain. |
"We need more bags ... there's so much trash," said Martinez, one of scores of volunteers helping clean up the dry bed of the Santa Cruz River about 10 miles north of the Mexico border on Saturday.
Trash tossed by thousands of illegal immigrants as they chase the American Dream has been a persistent problem for years in the rugged Arizona borderlands that lie on a main migration and smuggling route from Mexico.
The problem was compounded as immigrants and drug traffickers responded to ramped up vigilance on the U.S.-Mexico border by taking increasingly remote routes, leaving more waste behind in out-of-the way and hard-to-clean areas, authorities say.
"Migants used to follow the washes or follow the roads or utility poles," said Robin Hoover, founder of the Tucson-based non-profit Humane Borders.
"Now they're having to move farther and farther from the middle of the valleys," he added. "They end up making more camp sites and cutting more trails when they do that, and, unfortunately ... leave more trash."