Rotary Club Sponsors Recycling On Baja Beaches

By JOHN M. DERBY
April 19, 2018

The Mulege Rotary in Baja California, Mexico, recently approved a program to sponsor a recycling project which would include eight beach communities along the coast of the Sea of Cortez.
The club put up the first $1,000 to buy the necessary supplies needed to collect the recyclables. Merced County Times publisher John Derby, a member of Merced Sunrise Rotary, offered to donate a $1,000 flatbed trailer to transport the material to the nearest recycling center in Loreto, 60 miles south.
For many years there was a recycling center in Mulege, however, as the cost of the recycled material kept going down and the cost gas went up, the man who ran the center could no longer afford to run the operation.
He moved to a much bigger town where there was more to recycle and less work involved because most of the recycled material was brought directly to him. In Mulege, he had to actually go out and collect most of the recycled goods.
The latest recycling project was the brainchild of Tip Holloway, who lives near Mulege in the winter, and in Live Oak, California, the rest of the year. He is a member and former president of the Mulege Rotary Club.
He was concerned about the accumulation of material being piled up at the beach communities without any collection. He organized a local recycling committee of about 16 members, including a leader at each beach community.
During the winter, these beach communities accumulate a lot of material which if not picked up would be buried or burned. Tin cans, plastic containers, bottles, metal and cardboard were all part of the residue of Americans and Canadians, as well as other nationals from foreign countries.
Mexicans are environmentally conscious people but they have very little expendable income to set up recycling centers. Rarely does the government get involved with such matters, and had the Rotary not stepped forward, then the recycled matter would have become a major problem in the future.
The Baja community has done a good job of removing old car bodies and parts from the side of roads. Also, there has been a reduction of the amount of plastic containers and bags which clutter up the otherwise beautiful scenery.
Mulege Rotary Club is a very active club, made up of about half foreign residents and the other half local residents. It hosts such events as the recent Chili Cook Off, the Pig Races, as well as other fundraisers.
The money raised helps out the Mulege fire department, a dental clinic and eye glass clinic, a clean water project and the local ambulance. The recycling project is now another worthwhile project which has been added to its list.
Nationally, the Mulege Rotary also donates to the main project of Rotary International and that is to eradicate polio in all of the world. Because of Rotary’s efforts there are only one or two countries which still have polio.
Mexico is one of the many countries in the world where polio has been totally eradicated thanks to the efforts of Rotary International.
While recycling may seem like a small matter for communities in California, it is something which is much more difficult to coordinate in Mexico where there is so little governmental control or revenue to see that the job gets done.
Our motto has always been for gringos to leave nothing but footprints, and take nothing but photos during our stay in Baja, Mexico.


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