On Saturday, February 23, 2013, participants of Surfrider San Diego’s No Border Sewage Campaign (No BS)  collaborated with 4 Walls International and students from Point Loma Nazarene University to develop sustainable community infrastructure in Los Laureles Canyon, Mexico.

4 Walls International is a border-based nonprofit using sustainable building techniques to repurpose post consumer waste products (typically car tires, cans and plastics found in local rivers and valleys) for use in new community housing and gardens. These single-use products are readily available and would otherwise remain as pollutants in the environment or take up space in landfills. The organization heads a Los Laureles work site at Las Hormiguitas Native Plant Nursery, where the local community can learn these construction techniques as well as agricultural production and how to build systems for grey-water, thermoregulation and on-site sewage treatment.

While at the Las Hormiguitas site Surfrider volunteers painted a waterless composting toilet facility, constructed a cement glass bottle wall and created a recycled hydroponic system with a grey water catcher and filtration system.

“ It was great to meet the locals of Los Laureles, and see the support from the community. The local people blew me away with kindness, and cooked us an amazing lunch in return for our efforts,”  says Dan Funk of Surfrider’s No BS campaign.

Photos of the Los Laureles trip can be seen at the No BS Facebook page “NoBS (No Border Sewage) Campaign – Border Sewage Affects Us All”: https://www.facebook.com/NoBorderSewage

This is the second time Surfrider San Diego has participated in a Los Laureles Canyon community project. The nonprofit is actively involved with Mexican NGOs via the Tijuana River Action Network and plans to continue to collaborate with other organizations to bring about sustainable solutions.

Recent accelerated growth in Tijuana has led to a rise in unplanned development, lacking in basic waste and trash management systems. The city’s Los Laureles Canyon is home to nearly 100,000 people living without plumbing, without a trash program, and without the funds and materials to build safe housing. With each rain, waste, sediment and litter is swept into the Tijuana River, and heavier storms often see homes destroyed from land erosion. Pollution in the river flows across the border into the U.S. and eventually into the ocean.

In order to keep the oceans and beaches of San Diego clean, it is essential to go directly to the source of the problem. Surfrider and 4 Walls International’s work is part of an ongoing effort between U.S. and Mexican organizations to build clean, safe homes while keeping trash out of waterways and the ocean.

For more information on Surfrider San Diego’s No BS campaign visit https://sandiego.surfrider.org/campaigns/no-b-s