BREAKING NEWS
Incinerar basura, una condena de 30 años que expertos mexicanos buscan evitar Raúl Estrada México, 14 jun (EFE).- La quema de 4.500 toneladas de basura al día durante 30 años en la Ciudad de México no solo violará las leyes nacionales de protección al medioambiente, sino convenios internacionales, advirtieron hoy expertos que rechazan una planta que tendrá esa misión. Y es que la Agencia de Gestión Urbana de Ciudad de México otorgó a Proactiva Medio Ambiente, del grupo francés Veolia, una licitación para que construya una planta de termovalorización que producirá electricidad para las 12 estaciones del Metro a partir de la quema de 4.500 de las casi 13.000 toneladas de basura que genera la urbe. La termovalorización consiste en descomponer los residuos orgánicos a través del calor y, con el vapor producido, generar energía eléctrica. Los desechos restantes de la incineración se pueden emplear en la industria de la construcción. Raúl Sergio Cuéllar, director técnico de desechos sólidos en Ciudad de México de 1997 a 2005, explica a Efe que el concepto termovalorización es un eufemismo para no llamar a la quema de basura por su nombre: incineración. “México firmó el Convenio de Estocolmo para frenar la incineración, entonces no puede aceptar tecnologías que generan sustancias altamente tóxicas, persistentes y bioacumulables como las dioxinas y los furanos, porque no hay manera de contenerlas”, señala Marisa Jacott, directora de la organización Fronteras Comunes. A través del Convenio de Estocolmo sobre Contaminantes Orgánicos Persistentes, en vigor en México desde 2004, los países se comprometen a “poner fin a la incineración de desechos a cielo abierto y otras formas controladas de incineración”, incluida la de vertederos. Según Veolia, que opera 63 plantas de este tipo en todo el mundo, la termovalorización es un proceso que reduce los gases de efecto invernadero (GEI), controla las emisiones de dioxinas y furanos y es reconocido en Europa por su eficiencia energética. Estas plantas operan en muchas ciudades del mundo y “están sumamente controladas, vigiladas por las autoridades, para cumplir con todos los estándares y normas ambientales”, dice a Efe Federico Casares, director de Desarrollo de Negocios y Relaciones Institucionales de Veolia México. El jefe de la Agencia de Gestión Urbana de Ciudad de México, Jaime Slomianski, quien no estuvo disponible para ser entrevistado por Efe, también ha defendido esta tecnología y asegurado que está respaldada por resultados ambientales satisfactorios en Europa y Asia. Sin embargo, en enero de 2017 un documento de la Unión Europea advirtió que “la eliminación, ya sea en vertederos o mediante incineración con escasa o nula recuperación de energía, es habitualmente la opción menos favorable para reducir las emisiones de GEI”. Además de violar el Convenio de Estocolmo, organizaciones ambientalistas denuncian que la incineración de residuos atenta contra el derecho a un medioambiente sano garantizado por la Constitución, y viola normas sobre manejo de rellenos sanitarios y la emisión de sustancias peligrosas al ambiente. El director de Greenpeace México, Gustavo Ampugnani, asegura que tras el cierre del relleno sanitario del Bordo Poniente en 2011, el más grande de América Latina con una extensión de 721 hectáreas, se perdió la oportunidad de implementar un modelo de gestión basado en basura cero. “Lo dejaron pasar y hoy nos dicen: o mandamos la basura a quemar o se joden y la basura va a estar en las calles. El Gobierno de la Ciudad de México se está dando un tiro en el pie”, señala. Basura cero es un modelo de gestión de residuos sólidos urbanos que tiene como objetivo reducir la generación de basura y recuperar los materiales, en vez de eliminarlos. Ramón Ojeda Mestre, experto en derecho ambiental internacional, denuncia además que no hubo proceso de saneamiento del Bordo -que recibió 76 millones de toneladas de basura en el tiempo que operó (1985-2011)-, como estipula la norma sobre tratamiento de residuos sólidos urbanos. Ahí se construirá la planta de Veolia, la primera de este tipo en América Latina y que empezará a operar en 2020, violando además la norma sobre residuos peligrosos, la Ley General para la Prevención y Gestión Integral de los Residuos e incluso el Acuerdo de París, que fija las metas para reducir la emisión de GEI. “Si de todo eso no nos hacen caso aquí, iremos a tribunales internacionales y desde luego que nos lo van a conceder, va a quedar México en ridículo”, advierte Ojeda sobre los planes de los grupos ambientalistas para echar atrás el contrato para la construcción, operación y mantenimiento de esa instalación durante los próximos 33 años.

Remanding migrants “to the end of the line”

Migrantes devolviendo “al final de la línea”

After decades of nonstop demonization and scapegoating of migrants, the unveiling of Congress' comprehensive immigration reform proposals was profoundly disturbing. Congress continues to link criminality with the humane and courageous act of migration. Its proposals are anchored in prioritization of enforcement; that is, criminalization of migrants, punishment, detention, imprisonment, mass deportations, the continued militarization of the border and the borderization of the nation.

While the president's overall message was better, his passage about migrants "going to the back of the line" was equally troubling, especially when considering that the policies listed above are the president's current policies.

Specifically, the president said: "We've got to lay out a path, a process that includes passing a background check, paying taxes, paying a penalty, learning English, and then going to the back of the line behind all the folks who are trying to come here legally; that's only fair."

It is doubtful that most people expect much from Congress, at least in the realm of proposals that treat migrants as full human beings, but expectations for the president are much higher.

While that “back of the line” slogan was in there to soothe conservative doubters, what could faintly be heard were “back of the bus” echos.

Indeed, the most profound aspect of the immigration “debate” over the past few decades has been the normalization of dehumanization. This is what permits inane proposals to be passed off as reform. This is what permits the conflation of migration, criminality, drug-running and even terrorism. This is what permits the view that migrants are subhuman, or, at best, exploitable labor.

While the president's message to migrants is better, his approach is still mired in the concept of blame and punishment. Most Republicans/conservatives who speak up on this issue, apparently tone-deaf, are seemingly incapable of listening to themselves. Their aversion to "amnesty" is the embodiment of dehumanization. Their clinging to legal/illegal binaries does not conceal their true sentiments as they often refer to migrants as "illegals," clueless as to why this is demeaning and inaccurate (acts are illegal, not human beings). The unmistakable message they send out: you brown people are not welcome in this country.

But no one expects much different from that side of the political spectrum (and I'm not even talking about the extremists here). Top Republican leaders have already threatened to derail the process if the president goes too far. Apparently, once again, it is the people on the losing end of the presidential election and on the wrong side of history who are dictating the solution to the immigration crisis.

That's why the president's statement was disturbing: he is already sending signals that he will not go too far. He already has a very disappointing four-year record of "not going too far" in favor of migrants, except for the last-minute deferred status program that suspended the deportation of young people eligible for the as yet unpassed DREAM Act. The record number of deportations under his watch, the continued separation of families, the massive expansion of the immigration detention system (some 275 detention centers) and the continued militarization of the border have earned him the moniker “deporter in chief.”

And he is the good guy in this debate.

And now, remanding human beings to the end of the line is an even bigger step backward and incongruous with treating migrants as full human beings. It sends out the wrong message. The codification of unequal and dehumanized categories of human beings is both impermissible and contrary to human rights law.

Yet, the primary issue here is not about specifics or details regarding the immigration proposals, but rather a mindset or narrative.

Without the change in attitude and mindset, policy will always lead to the codification of this inequality in the form of temporary and limbo categories of human beings. For many, these would actually become permanent categories, considering the size of the current lines for legalization and citizenship. This is why - when there are already more than 11 million so-called undocumented immigrants - this mindset still permits the creation or expansion of guest worker programs.

Guest workers? Read: braceros. That's where the problem started, in 1942 through 1964: the importation of human beings who were treated as less than human, undeserving of full human and labor rights.

This back-of-the-line mindset is setting us up for converting these 11 million migrants into less-than-humans, undeserving of full human and labor rights.

Yet, in the end, conservatives are right about one thing: if the source of the problem is not addressed, migrants will continue to stream into the United States. If the nation is serious, and if the emphasis is on Mexico and Central America, rather than spending billions building moats, the United States should embark upon a long-term program that equalizes the economies of the region, a program akin to a NAFTA-type agreement, but with human beings at the center, as opposed to absent from the equation.

But would the big corporations really want that? Can society as a whole accept the equality of all peoples and nations in this region, in this hemisphere? It's easier to build moats, isn't it?

Roberto Rodriguez, an assistant professor in Mexican American studies at the University of Arizona, can be reached at xcolumn@gmail.com.



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