By Johnny Flores,
Mecca, Calif. — Residents of the Eastern Coachella Valley will make their voices heard about trash and how it affects their community at a community forum tomorrow.
“Talking Trash” is the first of a two-part forum held by the member-supported Southern California Public Radio (KPCC), based in Pasadena.
The forum will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 7, at Mecca Boys and Girls Club, 91-391 Avenue 66. KPCC journalist Ruxandra Guidi will moderate the forum, which will feature local environmental activist Eduardo Guevara and Megan Beaman, an attorney with California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA).
The discussion will continue at the Crawford Family Forum in Pasadena on Wednesday, June 13, at 7 p.m.
“When I first visited the Coachella Valley, more particularly the Eastern side, I saw the dumps and landfills and how the citizens aren’t happy about it,” said Guidi, whose reports on these issues have been featured on KPCC this week. “Now I want to inform people of these issues in hopes of solving these problems.”
Guidi will be leading a community conversation about trash and its effects on the community. Specifically, Guidi will be discussing the health and environmental issues compounded by dumpsites, such as the Western Environmental and Lawson dumps.
“More people need to be informed of situations like these,” said Eduardo Guevara, associate director of Promotores Comunitarios del Desierto. “These are not good conditions to be living in, and we as a valley need to raise awareness.”
“When the forum ends on Thursday, I hope that people understand the conditions we’re forced to live in. The trash you throw away affects someone in the same valley as you,” said Guevara when asked what he hopes people will take away from this event.
The average American throws away 100 tons of garbage in their lifetime. This garbage ends up being buried in landfills, which are basically holes in the earth dedicated to collecting trash.
However, chemicals from all this trash seep through and end up affecting the land we walk on, the air we breathe, and the water we drink. This is exactly what is happening in Mecca and in Salton City, where an eight-acre landfill will be increased to 320 acres. Residents fear that 300 more diesel trucks will travel from San Bernardino, Los Angeles and San Diego daily on Highway 86 to dump garbage.
“In doing this event, I hope that my radio broadcasts become more accessible to Spanish speakers, more importantly to the citizens of Mecca. I also hope that the real citizens can come and voice their opinion on their living conditions and tell the community how they feel,” said Guidi.
The community is invited to attend the forum. The event is free, but reservations are required. For more information, please visit: http://www.scpr.org/events/2012/06/07/talking-trash-part-one-coachella/