Cleanup works planned for Puebla's Atoyac river

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The government of the city of Puebla in central Mexico has announced the creation of a technical committee to plan sanitation works and projects to clean up the Atoyac river, according to local press reports.

City mayor Luis Banck confirmed that the municipal government will invest 10mn pesos (US$550,000) next year to create the committee, with the objective of achieving complete rehabilitation of the river within the next 15 years.

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The committee will be formed by six experts, who will be responsible for collecting information and updating data available on the river in order to prepare an assessment report that can then be used to formulate a work plan to propose sanitation and rehabilitation works.

Creation of the committee will complement previous steps that the municipal and state governments have taken to rehabilitate the polluted river, such as the creation of another committee representing all 22 municipalities in the state through which the river runs, as well as members of academia, civil organizations and authorities from the three levels of government.

One of the first actions that the government wants to implement, according to Banck, is to prevent industrial waste from being discharged into the river through the city's sewage network in order to reduce toxic discharges in the river to zero.

The Atoyac river is reportedly the third most polluted river in Mexico. It is estimated that 80% of Puebla's wastewater is discharged into the Atoyac, 15% of which is industrial waste.

In March of this year, federal environmental protection agency Profepa announced that it had shuttered 30 companies in the last year – 23 partially and seven totally – for polluting the river.