A health crisis in Agua Caliente, Lake Chapala in Ciudad Jalisco, Mexico is hitting its youngest citizens the hardest. The University of Guadalajara has launched an investigation into the epidemic numbers of chronic kidney disease cases in the area, the majority of which are children. According to their findings, an extensive amount of pollution is to blame with the likeliest culprits being a combination of smog, agricultural pesticides which have polluted the water supplies and almost nonexistent regulation. Club feet, malformed hands and heart problems are some of the other consequences stemming from the rampant pollution’s effects, but kidney disease remains the most dangerous.
One of the study’s most stunning finds was the detection of glyphosate (a herbicide) levels comparable to those a 50 year old man might exhibit…in a 2 year old. Further analysis of local denizens revealed high amounts of arsenic and other toxic heavy metals. The study painted an interwoven picture of environmental poisoning, stemming from pesticide saturation of the lake, which would evaporate in the heat and concurrently cause the air currents to become toxic as well.
Sanitary conditions have not been the most ideal in the area, mostly due to governmental indifference. Drinking water is rationed, there is no drainage or waste collection system in effect and many residents are left to burn their own waste, which releases even more toxins into an already poisonous area. Director of Public Health in Jalisco, Jorge Sanchez denies contaminants are to blame and instead posits the cause may be linked to inbreeding and poor diet, but the proof is undeniable.
The ecosystem is much like the body’s own system of interconnected organs. When there is imbalance, as in the case of pollution due to human negligence, the system becomes strained to function effectively and over time becomes a hostile, bleak landscape unwelcoming to life. This is mirrored in the plight of Agua Caliente’s citizens. As long as indifference remains the key strategy in tackling these issues, future generations will, sadly and unjustly, have to pay the price for their forebears’ apathy.