Admittedly, this was a hard topic to really sink my teeth into. I think this is mostly because there is a large lack of personal connection, and I haven’t really thought about this before. Right here I am more aware of my privilege. I do know that a lot of the luxuries I enjoy are directly detrimental to other’s basic human rights, but I usually think of sweat shops and the like. This issue has a lot to do with big business, politics, and international trade, effectively adding to my confusion and inability to identify exactly how this issue fits into my life. Nonetheless, it’s shocking (though not surprising) how easily businesses from the U.S. value profit and business fluidity over environmental and human well-being, which are really the same thing.
For me, I find most of my frustration comes from a feeling of helplessness. How can I really make change with big businesses from the U.S. that operate in Mexico? I guess the most I can do is pass along information and hope others do the same. I got my information from a 2002 article in the Global Policy Forum. Certainly this is a rather outdated source, and it is certainly not written objectively despite the credibility of the author and site. However, this gives a great summation of the issue in rather plain language. I’ve copied some particularly telling statements from the article linked to above to give an idea of what this is all about. So please, check it out, let us know what you think, and spread the word.
“Under the 1983 La Paz Agreement on US-Mexico Environmental Co-operation, and under Mexico’s 1988 General Law for Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection, wastes generated in[...]foreign-owned firms must be returned for disposal in the country where the raw materials originated, typically the US. But in actual practice, less than three percent of firms bound by the La Paz Agreement actually returned their wastes to the US before the mid- 1990s”
“According to Mexican government estimates, only about 12 percent of the hazardous waste generated in Mexico is properly managed[...]Recent figures indicate that around 25-30 percent of maquiladoras now return their toxic waste to the US,[...]but this is still far below what is necessary to ensure proper management of hazardous wastes generated in Mexico.”