Despite warnings, visitors bathe in North Bazaar ‘polluted water’

San Diego (Border report) — The week leading up to the Easter holiday is traditionally the busiest time of year for travel to Mexico, and many visit the Tijuana coastline and swim in the ocean despite warnings against it.

Mexico’s Federal Commission for the Prevention of Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) said recent test results showed high bacteria in the ocean and warned people not to go in or near the water.

Earlier this week, officials ordered the closure of several beaches, including Tijuana’s, “in the interest of public safety and health,” saying large sections of the coast were unsuitable for recreational use.

“Access to beaches in the city of Tijuana is closed and restricted during Holy Week until further notice,” read a news release issued by COFEPRIS.

Despite the warning, many beachgoers are still ignoring the warning and spreading their towels and umbrellas on the sand.

Some are found with nets and fishing poles, an activity that is highly discouraged by health officials, as the fish can also carry bacteria and are not fit for consumption.

According to a reporter for Tijuana’s El Sol newspaper, only one sign is posted on the beach directly south of the border barrier saying the shoreline is temporarily closed to visitors.

Pablo Moreno of Las Vegas, Nevada, said he and his family went to the beach to enjoy the sun and warm temperatures.

“I didn’t know it was closed or polluted, the water looked so clear,” Moreno said.

It was hard to believe that there was a need to restrict access to others.

“It’s strange that the beach is closed, the water looks clear,” said Hector Becerra, a vendor in the area. “A lot of times it looks murky and it smells, but not now, you even see dolphins swimming.”

Environmentalists and health professionals warn that contact with water or even wet sand can cause gastrointestinal infections and skin rashes.

The bacteria are the result of millions of gallons of untreated sewage flowing from Tijuana through the Tijuana River Valley and from a broken-down treatment plant about five miles south of the border.

Legally, people can be cited for ignoring warnings, but the city of Tijuana says it doesn’t have the staff to enforce it and “leaves it up to the public to do the right thing and take their own precautions.”

Beaches just north of the city’s border, such as Imperial Beach, are also closed due to pollution.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *