Litter, garbage and pollution: WHY DO I CARE?
It is true that litter and garbage are unsightly, even annoying. The dogs and cows tip over the garbage cans up and down the street and I have to pick it up. It makes a mess and wastes my time! But is that the biggest reason to worry about litter and garbage?
Litter and garbage collect water, lead to mosquito reproduction, attract unwanted rodents, and pollute our water.
Litter and pollution are responsible for millions of deaths annually.
The most deadly animal in the world is the mosquito. It might seem impossible that something so miniscule can kill so many people, but it's true. According to the World Health Organization, mosquito bites result in the deaths of more than 1 million people every year.
Mosquitoes cause Dengue, Chikungunya, Zika, and Malaria. Mosquitos need free standing water (water in litter, a plastic bag, pop bottle, or tire ) to reproduce. Most locals have had one of these mosquito born illnesses and many have not recovered from the chronic pain. Worse yet, many have contracted Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, which can be fatal. Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever occurs more frequently when you get Dengue a second time. Less serious but still devastating is the inability to work for days to months due to long lasting pain which can ruin family finances.
Most recently, the news is full of sad cases of babies born with small heads from mothers infected by mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus.
Rats, mice, and other pests need garbage (food) to survive.
Rats have fleas that can transfer the Black Plague to humans. The Black Plague bacteria is present in the rats of Southern California and Baja. The Black Plague has caused at least 3 pandemics, killing 1/3 of the world population in the fifth century and again in the 15th century. The most recent epidemic was in 1994.
Rodents also cause: Hantavirus, Hemorrhagic Fever, Lassa Fever, Leptospirosis, Lymphocytic Chorio-meningitis (LCM), Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever, Rat-Bite Fever, Salmonellosis, South American Arenaviruses (Argentine hemorrhagic fever, Bolivian hemorrhagic fever, Sabiá-associated hemorrhagic fever, Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever), and Tularemia.
Garbage, litter and water pollution are also responsible for Giardia (diarrhea), Amebiasis (hepatitis, brain abscesses) and Intestinal Worms (malnutrition and death from intestinal obstruction)
Pollution of our water with bacteria (E-coli, salmonella, shigella, campylobacter, cholera, viruses) is the major cause of diarrhea worldwide
The World Health Organization states that diarrheal disease is the second leading cause of death in children under five years old. Each year diarrhea kills around 760,000 children under five
In conclusion, litter and garbage are unsightly, irritating and impact tourism and prosperity in La Ventana and El Sargento. While this is reason enough to clean up our community, there is another reason with a much deeper impact to our lives. The disease that follows the improper disposal of garbage leads to sickness, the inability to work, and even the death of our children and loved ones.
Join us at No Más Basura in creating a cleaner, healthier, and safer community for both locals and visitors.
Michael Chmel, MD