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Litter choking streets throughout Mexico
Houston Chronicle Mexico City Bureau ^ | June 24, 2007 | DUDLEY ALTHAUS

Posted on 06/25/2007 8:27:31 AM PDT by SwinneySwitch

Activists say public isn't only culprit — leaders and companies are also culpable

MEXICO CITY — Mexicans have become world-class litterbugs.

Soft drink bottles, snack wrappers, used diapers and cigarette butts clog city streets, rural highways and scenic beaches. Mountains of garbage stand sentry-like in empty lots and at the edges of bucolic rural villages. Discarded plastic bags hang in trees and dangle from cactus like bitter industrial fruit.

Not every Mexican litters, of course. And perhaps no one does so all the time. But enough of them do, enough of the time, that this nation of 105 million people is choking on its refuse.

Yet, there has been no concerted long-term anti-litter campaign. Only a smattering of Mexican towns and cities have municipal garbage dumps.

For many environmentalists, litter takes a backseat to fouled water, dirty air, coastline overbuilding, widespread deforestation and severe soil erosion. To many citizens, litter is all but invisible. And in the view of some observers, there is a lack of public responsibility.

"People see it as a problem that doesn't affect them, but it does," said Francisco Padron, director of a Mexico City civic organization aimed at educating the public on environmental issues.

Consider just a few impacts:

• Litter contributes to severe flooding in Mexico City every rainy season, which is beginning now, when discarded bottles and other trash clog storm drains. Each year the city government makes a plea to end the littering. And each year that plea is uniformly ignored. • "Uncleanliness" — primarily litter — ranks first among the complaints of foreign tourists visiting Mexico, according to studies conducted by the Tourism Ministry. • Haphazard roadside dumps serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes, contributing to the outbreak of dengue fever and other diseases in rural southern villages. Environmentalists blame a lack of government programs and corporate interest for much of the problem.

Fines for littering are rare and even more rarely enforced. Few cities or towns bother to put trash cans in the streets. Even where public trash cans do exist, they're seldom emptied.

Mexican environmental officials say that only several dozen of Mexico's more than 2,500 cities, towns and villages have a landfill or other kind of municipal garbage dump.

"There is a lack of political will," said Jorge Trevino, director of ECOCE (Ecología y Compromiso Empresarial), an industry-funded group that manages recycling and public awareness campaigns. "There is a lack of infrastructure. In many cities, there is a lack of planning. There is nowhere to put the trash."

But there's also a lack of public concern or responsibility, Trevino and other activists say.

People tuck pop bottles into hedges, trees and lampposts. Schoolchildren drop snack packages wherever they please. Drivers of intercity buses instruct passengers to toss refuse out the windows rather than leave it aboard.

There's also little downside, either legal or social, for the litterers.

"In the United States, you have an authority that is watching. Here in Mexico, there is nothing like that," Trevino said. "If you throw trash on the highway here in Mexico, no one says anything."

Like many of its social problems, Mexico's litter epidemic may be anchored in a deeply entrenched political system in which citizen input has been discouraged.

Not 'their' problem Trash pickup in Mexico City and other urban centers has been free and largely controlled by labor unions, said Hector Castillo, a sociologist who studies the refuse industry at Mexico's National Autonomous University. Many Mexicans consider trash, including litter, to be somebody else's problem. "They throw trash in the street because that's why they pay taxes," Castillo said. "Somebody else picks it up."

Litter has become a global problem, of course. But societies like Mexico's, whose exploding and still-poor populations crowd into cities and consume packaged food rather than what they produce themselves, suffer the most from it.

"There has been a more dramatic change in the types of waste we are producing than in the culture of disposing of that waste," said Padron, the Mexico City environmentalist. "Trash has been seen only as waste and not as valuable material that can be recycled."

Padron and other activists say corporations have an obligation to figure out how to dispose of packaging.

"In a responsible economy, they have the responsibility for what happens to their wastes," Padron said.

Mexico has yet to experience a watershed moment that brings litter to the forefront of public consciousness, environmentalists say. And anti-litter efforts must be intense, sustained and widespread to be effective. Even then, there are no guarantees.

Don't Mess With Mexico The Don't Mess With Texas campaign, run by the state's Department of Transportation, is considered one of the more successful in the United States. Texas officials say the amount of litter has been reduced by as much as a third since the start of this decade. Still, telephone surveys indicate that as many as 77 percent of Texans under the age of 25 admit to littering, and 55 percent of all Texans say they do.

ECOCE, Trevino's organization, began a television ad campaign several years ago aimed at shaming the public into taking care of trash.

Dubbed "no manches," which can loosely translate to "don't mess with," the effort featured children chastising people for tossing trash.

The ads, which had little apparent impact on public actions, have been discontinued for other campaigns.

"The trouble is, we're the only ones doing this sort of thing," Trevino said.

Still, there are some hopeful signs in Mexico.

A tiny market for recycled plastic bottles is growing, with most of the recovered plastic shipped to the United States and China for further processing.

Two years ago, ecotourism guides and a television network raised a ruckus about the trash clogging the Grijalva River inside the stunning Sumidero Canyon of the southernmost state of Chiapas.

Local, state and federal officials mobilized an army of workers to clean up the mess. More than 1,200 tons of garbage were collected from the narrow gorge in a few weeks. The officials claimed victory.

Today, news reports portray the river through the canyon as trashed out as ever.

"It's a war without end," said Marlene Ehrenberg, the Mexico City tour guide and environmentalist who first raised the alarm about the Sumidero.

"I'm so tired and fed up," she said.

dudley.althaus@chron.com


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Mexico; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: aliens; corruption; envionment; mexico; mexicoisacesspool
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Have found dirty diapers on food shelves and parking lots at South Texas stores!

"It's a war without end,"

1 posted on 06/25/2007 8:27:33 AM PDT by SwinneySwitch
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To: SwinneySwitch
Related link...

Illegal immigrants burying border in garbage

2 posted on 06/25/2007 8:32:01 AM PDT by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
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To: SwinneySwitch

There have been dirty diapers on the streets of El Paso, Texas for 30 years. I took the train once from Mexico City to Queretaro. As we were leaving the metropolis, headed toward Tula, the train passed through what looked to be a 15-mile long garbage dump. It was like the scene from one of those horror movies set in the future, garbage as far as you could see in any direction. I asked the porter if it was a huge dump and he said no, it was just property the railroad owned.


3 posted on 06/25/2007 8:33:18 AM PDT by 3AngelaD (They screwed up their own countries so bad they had to leave, and now they're here screwing up ours)
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To: SwinneySwitch
Mexicans have become world-class litterbugs.

Here and there!.......

4 posted on 06/25/2007 8:34:56 AM PDT by Red Badger (Bite your tongue. It tastes a lot better than crow................)
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To: notaliberal; 19th LA Inf; ImpBill; captjanaway; DrewsMum; iopscusa; Liberty Valance; ...

Trash War ping!

If you want on, or off this S. Texas/Mexico ping list, please FReepMail me.


5 posted on 06/25/2007 8:34:56 AM PDT by SwinneySwitch (US Constitution Article 4 Section 4..shall protect each of them against Invasion...domestic Violence)
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To: SwinneySwitch

This is a fun little game :

http://www.nothingtoxic.com/media/1147260264/Shoot_the_Illegal_Immigrants


6 posted on 06/25/2007 8:36:41 AM PDT by HarmlessLovableFuzzball
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To: SwinneySwitch

Mexico has always been like that. Not new news.


7 posted on 06/25/2007 8:36:52 AM PDT by RC2
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To: SwinneySwitch

That is one thing I have noticed that seems to be a common cultural, societal whatever norm with mexicans, legal or otherwise.

They change the baby in the zoo parking lot and leave the diaper on the ground.

Whether or not the border is closed, I’d like to see some sanitary “biohazard” enforcement on these particular “issues”—so to speak.


8 posted on 06/25/2007 8:39:45 AM PDT by sam_paine (X .................................)
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To: SwinneySwitch

I live near a beautiful nature preserve. We who love and use this land clean it up constantly, filling trash bags with water bottles and other garbage that visitors leave. Our efforts are in addition to those of the local government authority which supervises and cleans the preserve. But each weekend Hispanics bring their fishing poles and try to catch something in the ponds there, and the garbage they leave is mounded up again. It’s infuriating and disgusting. They bring their filthy habits with them when they come to this country.


9 posted on 06/25/2007 8:39:48 AM PDT by Fairview ( Everybody is somebody else's weirdo.)
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To: SwinneySwitch

They think they are “providing” a job for someone by littering.


10 posted on 06/25/2007 8:40:33 AM PDT by subterfuge (Today, Tolerance =greatest virtue;Hypocrisy=worst character defect; Discrimination =worst atrocity)
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To: SwinneySwitch

I guess no Mexicans will do the works that immigrants could do.


11 posted on 06/25/2007 8:41:38 AM PDT by struggle ((The struggle continues))
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To: SwinneySwitch
This is why people who litter in a place like Singapore are subject to arrest, prosecution, and some pretty severe corporal punishment.

Nothing does more to turn a place into a sh!t-hole than litter and graffiti -- the two most basic indicators of a sub-human population in a modern society.

12 posted on 06/25/2007 8:41:55 AM PDT by Alberta's Child (I'm out on the outskirts of nowhere . . . with ghosts on my trail, chasing me there.)
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To: SwinneySwitch
"It's a war without end."

And it is coming soon to your neighborhood if it hasn't already.

vaudine

13 posted on 06/25/2007 8:44:39 AM PDT by vaudine
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To: SwinneySwitch

hmmmmmm, I know where Mexico could find a huge workforce to clean up it’s own streets...


14 posted on 06/25/2007 8:45:18 AM PDT by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: SwinneySwitch
Wow! They do the same thing during their illegal border crossings. I'm beginning to see a pattern here.


15 posted on 06/25/2007 8:47:27 AM PDT by VeniVidiVici (Conservatives are educated. Liberals are indoctrinated.)
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To: SwinneySwitch

Get Used To IT! Don’t expect people from a culture of trash to respect your effete little no-littering sensibilities.


16 posted on 06/25/2007 8:47:46 AM PDT by ichabod1 ("Liberals read Karl Marx. Conservatives UNDERSTAND Karl Marx." Ronald Reagan)
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To: SwinneySwitch

This is nothing new. I spent the first 14 years of my life in the South Texas area and they had “trashy” habits way back then. The small quaint town I was born in was turned into a nasty little place when the Mexicans took it over. If they haven’t changed by now it’s unlikely that they ever will.


17 posted on 06/25/2007 8:48:25 AM PDT by girlscout
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To: SwinneySwitch
"It's a war without end

Kind of like the Mexican artwork (vandalism) also known as graffiti which we now enjoy and savor in all major cities!!! /s

18 posted on 06/25/2007 8:48:39 AM PDT by stockstrader (We need a conservative candidate who will UNITE the Party, not a liberal one to DIVIDE it!)
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To: SwinneySwitch

Somehow this is the fault of the United Staes and George Bush, just trying to work out the details... Wait for it, its coming!


19 posted on 06/25/2007 8:51:11 AM PDT by Holicheese (Zap Razdowler Rules!)
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To: Liberty Valance

BUMP!


20 posted on 06/25/2007 8:51:19 AM PDT by Publius6961 (MSM: Israelis are killed by rockets; Lebanese are killed by Israelis.)
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To: SwinneySwitch
Only a smattering of Mexican towns and cities have municipal garbage dumps.

This may have something to do with the problem.

21 posted on 06/25/2007 8:53:29 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (When you find "Sola Scriptura" in the Bible, let me know)
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To: SwinneySwitch
People tuck diapers, pop bottles into hedges, trees and lampposts. Schoolchildren drop snack packages wherever they please. Drivers of intercity buses instruct passengers to toss refuse out the windows rather than leave it aboard.

Welcome to my front yard.

Many Mexicans consider trash, including litter, to be somebody else's problem...

Mine, for instance.

Still, there are some hopeful signs in Mexico.

Yeah, millions of these trash loving fools have left Mexico and are residing here.

22 posted on 06/25/2007 8:53:37 AM PDT by DumpsterDiver
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To: Fairview
It’s infuriating and disgusting. They bring their filthy habits with them when they come to this country.

Bingo !

23 posted on 06/25/2007 8:54:53 AM PDT by jimt
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To: SwinneySwitch

Get used to it in this country. Also, pigs roasting over a pit in the front yards of houses containing 20+ little brown people, with low-riders parked in the front yard.


24 posted on 06/25/2007 9:00:50 AM PDT by Sig Sauer P220
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To: RC2

“Mexico has always been like that. Not new news.”

Before the era of prepackaged food, no place was like that. As recently as 20 years ago, Mexico had no littering problem because most people still ate fresh foods purchased at farmers markets rather than packaged food from supermarkets.


25 posted on 06/25/2007 9:01:12 AM PDT by monday
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To: Publius6961

I say we just declare a new “Mexican-US” War and take back what Mexico owes us though their invasions by looting Mexico City, and their oil-rich reserves!! What do you say..Anyone with me..or am I out of touch..

Should there be a new Mexican-US War?


26 posted on 06/25/2007 9:01:30 AM PDT by JSDude1 (Republicans if the don't beware ARE the new WHIGS! (all empty hairpieces..) :).)
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To: sam_paine
They change the baby in the zoo parking lot and leave the diaper on the ground.

I was going to say, "Hey, I've seen that too!", then saw who had posted it, and realized I saw it with you. LOL!

27 posted on 06/25/2007 9:01:32 AM PDT by AnnaZ (I keep 2 magnums in my desk.One's a gun and I keep it loaded.Other's a bottle and it keeps me loaded)
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To: Alberta's Child
"Nothing does more to turn a place into a sh!t-hole than litter and graffiti -- the two most basic indicators of a sub-human population in a modern society.

And both indicators are ingrained in Mexican culture!

28 posted on 06/25/2007 9:11:29 AM PDT by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: Alberta's Child
"Nothing does more to turn a place into a sh!t-hole than litter and graffiti -- the two most basic indicators of a sub-human population in a modern society.

And both indicators are ingrained in Mexican culture!

29 posted on 06/25/2007 9:11:46 AM PDT by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: SwinneySwitch
According to the article, 25 percent of Texans litter. What percentage of the litter bugs are Hispanic, other minority or Anglo?
30 posted on 06/25/2007 9:13:59 AM PDT by Mark was here (Hard work never killed anyone, but why take the chance?)
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To: SwinneySwitch
Have found dirty diapers on food shelves and parking lots at South Texas stores!

When I was a kid that was considered on one of the sights to see on a drive through San Fernando -- diapers dropped along the street curbs. I suspect (having been gone 12 years now) that all of Los Angeles looks that way.

31 posted on 06/25/2007 9:15:08 AM PDT by ElkGroveDan (When toilet paper is a luxury, you have achieved communism.)
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To: SwinneySwitch

Thinkj of what would occur if just one of the do-gooder eco foundations bought trash by the pound.

It is a rare day when I don’t see someone beer can fishing along side a road.


32 posted on 06/25/2007 9:20:35 AM PDT by razorback-bert (Posted by Time's Man of the Year)
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To: SwinneySwitch

It’s not just a Mexican culture thing. When we visited Israel, it was easy to tell the Jewish areas vs. the Arab ones. The Arabs had mountians of trash piled around


33 posted on 06/25/2007 9:20:52 AM PDT by AZHSer
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To: SwinneySwitch

They don’t give a crap about their own country but they want to take over ours.


34 posted on 06/25/2007 9:22:12 AM PDT by beethovenfan (If Islam is the solution, the "problem" must be freedom.)
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To: SwinneySwitch

You outta go into a high rise condo under construction here in Florida sometime. They all have around an 80% mexican construction workers. The buildings smell unbelievably bad.

You won’t find a single cabinet, kitchen or bath that won’t have an old soda or water bottle full of piss and the bathtubs get crapped in.

Also add to the fact that thier excrement is inherently nasty due to the foods they eat.

Never been to a third world country? Stick around, it’s coming here soon enough.


35 posted on 06/25/2007 9:26:21 AM PDT by diverteach
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To: beethovenfan
They don’t give a crap about their own country but they want to take over ours.

The money's here, not there. As long as corrupt American businesses continue to aid the invasion by giving illegals jobs, we will never get a handle on the problem.
36 posted on 06/25/2007 9:28:08 AM PDT by reagan_fanatic (..and the horse you rode in on!)
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To: SwinneySwitch

Well, you know, I really do hate to say it ‘cause it sounds like I’m being a racist and a nativist, but...

...these folks are mighty sloppy.

At a recent Hispanic celebration in Alexandria, Virginia, the streets were literally(and I mean “literally”) awash in litter. The whole thing was disgusting.


37 posted on 06/25/2007 9:28:35 AM PDT by RexBeach (Americans never quit. -Douglas MacArthur)
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To: SwinneySwitch
As a FReeper once said, "To See America's Future, Look South To Mexico"
38 posted on 06/25/2007 9:29:27 AM PDT by ▀udda▀udd (7 days - 7 ways Guero >>> with a floating, shifting, ever changing persona....)
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To: monday
I went for a New Years weekend in San Felipe in 1975. It was the first time I had been in Mexico since I was a little kid.

I was amazed at the trash! In the little town of San Felipe the little houses (shacks) all had neat little ocatillo fences and tidy swept yards. Many had fresh laundry drying on said ocatillo fence.

But outside of town. And I mean right on the first empty lots were piles of garbage. The constant wind blew it farther and farther into the surrounding desert. It was everywhere. Hanging on bushes, blowing across the roads and in piles and piles. Evidently the idea of a municiple dump or a place where everyone dumped was incomprehensable to the townsfolk.

I noticed the dried and scavaged corpse of some large animal. I was told that it was a very pretty little colt that had been wandering in the desert. People would do that is they coundn’t afford to feed an animal. Just turn it out to fend for its self. Well this little guy couldn’t make and became weaker and weaker. No one would do anything for it because when it grew up the original owner could come and take it back. So it was left to die by the side of the road. Disgusting.

One day 10 years later people were complaining bitterly about the poor fishing on the beaches. Why I asked. A local told me it was because of all the “greengos” who come down to fish on the beach. I guess that that was a much greater threat to the local fishery than the gill netters trolling up and down the coast 24/7 or the dynamite fishing. The dynamite fishing was illegal by then, but people still did it we were told because all the old greengoes and their fishing polls had caught all the fish (from the shore).

And Bush wants us to turn our country over to these people.

39 posted on 06/25/2007 9:30:08 AM PDT by silver charm (Duncan Hunter '08)
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To: Holicheese
Somehow this is the fault of the United Staes and George Bush, just trying to work out the details... Wait for it, its coming!

Do Mexican illegal aliens leave their littering ways behind once they (illegally) cross the US border?

Why would you want them to bring that nasty habit into the USA?

Why do you defend someone (Jorge W. Arbusto) who does?

40 posted on 06/25/2007 9:31:13 AM PDT by Ol' Dan Tucker (After six years of George W. Bush I long for the honesty and sincerity of the Clinton Administration)
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To: monday
I think you are correct. I’m more familiar with Honduras and Guatemala in both countries you see piles of trash along the roadside that are slowly burning. Also see piles of trash outside windows (open no glass) of shacks on mountainsides particularly in Honduras. I honestly think that it used to be minimally ok to toss the banana peel, pineapple top etc because they would rot quickly but plastic and cans just pile up. The culture has not caught with modern food packaging.
41 posted on 06/25/2007 9:32:17 AM PDT by nomorelurker (wetraginhell)
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To: SwinneySwitch
In the United States, you have an authority that is watching. Here in Mexico, there is nothing like that.

YES, it is called self-discipline and self-respect. Any of us could easily live like pigs and not be caught. But we choose not to. This guy thinks we don't litter for fear of being caught. He needs to visit us for a while. (Uh, stay out of some areas where people have no self-discipline and self-respect.)

42 posted on 06/25/2007 9:33:03 AM PDT by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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To: SwinneySwitch
Mexicans have become world-class litterbugs

Conquering the world via mucho anchor baby's?

43 posted on 06/25/2007 9:35:18 AM PDT by tophat9000 (My 2008 grassroots Republican platform: Build the fence, enforce the laws, and win the damm WAR!)
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To: SwinneySwitch

I have and idea. Instead of taking our garbage to a landfill, we should just ship it to the areas of the US where the Mescans have taken over. Slip in at night, dump it in the streets, and slip on out.

Next morning, they won’t notice the difference.


44 posted on 06/25/2007 9:38:03 AM PDT by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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To: 3AngelaD
It was like the scene from one of those horror movies set in the future, garbage as far as you could see in any direction. I asked the porter if it was a huge dump and he said no, it was just property the railroad owned.

I recall noticing huge amounts of trash dumped on railroad property the last time I rode the train into New York City. This was 15-20 years ago. It wasn't as bad as your description of Mexico though.

45 posted on 06/25/2007 9:39:09 AM PDT by wideminded
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To: monday; nomorelurker
Before the era of prepackaged food, no place was like that. As recently as 20 years ago, Mexico had no littering problem because most people still ate fresh foods purchased at farmers markets rather than packaged food from supermarkets.
Excellent post, monday. You have just explained so much of what is going on today. The world is in a flux as great as any since the opening of cross-Atlantic/Pacific trade routes by the Spanish and Portuguese. There's a tremendous clash of new technology with old perceptions, and it will be a long, long while for it to sort out.

To make it through this transition successfully, the U.S. must keep constant pressure on the rest of the world. If we don't lead, those who would interpret new things through old ways will.

46 posted on 06/25/2007 9:41:39 AM PDT by nicollo (all economic are politics)
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To: AZHSer
It’s not just a Mexican culture thing.

It's third world thing.

47 posted on 06/25/2007 9:44:07 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (A man who will not defend himself does not deserve to be defended by others.)
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To: Mark was here
According to the article, 25 percent of Texans litter.

Um ... That was 77 percent of Texans under 25. (and 55 percent of all Texans)

48 posted on 06/25/2007 9:44:18 AM PDT by wideminded
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To: RC2
Mexico has always been like that. Not new news.

Not exactly.....

"Always" is a word that should rarely be used....

FWIW-

49 posted on 06/25/2007 9:45:08 AM PDT by Osage Orange (Getting honest answers from Congress...is like putting socks on roosters.)
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To: Red Badger
Here and there!.......

You got that right.

While I was reading this, I had a Hispanic walk in my office wanting to rent an apartment. He asked me what the requirements were to rent. I told him one of the requirements was that everyone had to be legal. He admitted with no shame or fear that he and his wife were not legal. (Why is my stomach in knots all of a sudden?)

50 posted on 06/25/2007 9:49:20 AM PDT by muggs
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