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Pollution turned this Mexican river into a toxic hell

August 2, 2016
The pollution at El Salto. Photo by IMCINE-Tecolote Films-PIANO.

Industrial pollution creates clouds of toxic waste at El Salto. Photo by IMCINE-Tecolote Films-PIANO.

El Salto de Juanacatlán was once a majestic waterfall where locals would fish, bathe, and play. Today the air stinks of sulphur, yellow-tinged water cascades over the rocks, and clouds of bright white foam collect at the foot of the falls before drifting downstream.

After years of watching the authorities fail to acknowledge the seriousness of the problem, desperate locals are now intensifying their calls for action. They claim it is already too late for 628 locals who they say the pollution has killed in the last eight years. That includes 72 deaths in 2015, the worst year to date.

“My mother and two sisters died of cancer,” said Samuel Álvarez, a pensioner with white stubble and few teeth, as he ambled down the town’s uneven streets on his morning walk. “We used to live right next to the river and I think it was caused by them inhaling the industrial fumes every night.”

Environmental activists from El Salto demand solutions.

Environmental activists from El Salto demand that the government find a solution.

The devastation of El Salto began in the 1970s as industries began to congregate in the now decrepit town located on the southeastern outskirts of Guadalajara, the second-largest city in Mexico and the capital of the state of Jalisco…

Click here to read this feature in full at VICE News.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. diana mayoral permalink
    February 22, 2017 11:04

    Thank you for writing this story. My family lives here. I have seen this first hand.

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