Green Fatigue

"Border Trash" Web Site Launched by State to Emphasize Problem; Volunteers for Cleanups Sought


A new Web site launched by the state of Arizona emphasizes the problem of litter from illegal border crossers and seeks volunteers for cleanups. was funded by state and federal money, according to the site, leaving one of our Facebook friends to wonder why Arizona considers trash-dumping by illegal immigrants to be more important than dumping by citizens.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, which manages the new site, has Web pages devoted to illegal dumping in general, but nothing with its own domain name, like the border-trash site.

True, illegal dumping is a major problem everywhere in the state, says Mark Schaffer, spokesman for ADEQ. But the Border Trash site was an initiative from the Governor's office.

With Governor Jan Brewer at the helm, signer of the infamous "papers, please" law, no further explanation is needed. Illegal immigration is her defining issue.

That being said, the trashing of our southern desert is a damned shame and we hold volunteers for these cleanup events in the highest esteem.

"It's five-feet-deep in some places," says Schaffer, who's been out on a cleanup or two.

The Web site is evolving and will be updated with more info, he says. We also pointed out that it needs to update its winter cleanup schedule.

We're not sure how much it cost to create and maintain this site, but the ADEQ is already saving some money this year: Schaffer says that the agency used to employ a specialist on illegal dumping information.

The person was recently laid off. 

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.