Although Mexico is still recovering from the Latin American Recession in 2008, the Mexican government is rebuilding infrastructure and has made strides to improve the country’s sanitation. Below are 10 facts about sanitation in Mexico and how the country is successfully mitigating its sanitation issues.
10 Facts About Sanitation in Mexico
- Sanitation in Mexico has improved drastically in the last three decades. Piped water supply to urban areas has increased from 88 percent to 93 percent, rural areas from 50 percent to 74 percent and overall access to sanitation from 64 percent to 85 percent. While these statistics are encouraging, Mexico still struggles to provide its citizens with safe drinking water, which causes both water scarcity and decreased access to safe utilities.
- The Mexico Water Utilities Efficiency Improvement Project, which implemented in 2015, installed 500 household meters, performed maintenance on existing pumps and trained 670 utility staff members to increase the efficiency of the water systems in Mexico. Over 20,000 individuals living in urban now have access to consistent water supplies and better sanitation.
- The Bill Ford Better World Challenge awarded a grant of $60,000 to projects to improve sanitation in Mexico. This grant went towards a community center in Guayacan that provides clean and running water to residents. It also went towards the installation of 750 filtration systems in private homes. This will increase private and public access to filtered water in Guayacan.
- Since 2001, Mexico has decreased its mortality rate from 122.7 per 100,000 people per year to 7.3 per 100,000 people per year. Investment in infrastructure since 2013 alone has increased to $471 million. This investment into sewer coverage, wastewater treatment plants and piped water sources are responsible for the significant decline in the mortality rate. Since 2001, malnutrition has decreased from 4.4 percent to 3.6 percent, anemia has decreased from 30.4 percent to 28.20 percent and agricultural practices have improved significantly.
- Community participation in sanitation efforts in Mexico is waning. While the Mexican government has been increasingly active in its efforts to combat sanitation issues, citizens have a moderate to low rate of participation and usage of sanitization. This is likely due to a lack of sanitation information distributed to rural populations.
- The United States and Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Program has increased collaboration between the United States and Mexico to increase water quality. While this program began in 1983, it has grown exponentially in recent years. In 2011 alone, the program has successfully brought clean water to 55,000 homes and provided wastewater services to 500,000 homes in Mexico. This has helped preserve rivers in border communities and increase access to clean water.
- Solid waste facilities in Mexico are working with private partners to help close the sanitation gap that state authorities left. While the facilities safely collect and store only 84 percent of solid waste, states are working with the private market to implement safe and effective waste strategies. The National Infrastructure Project aims to increase wastewater treatment by 15.5 percent in four years.
- Innovators and nonprofits are partnering to end the water crisis. By refining NASA’s Water Recovery System and the Oxygen Generation System, Concern for Kids has successfully donated devices to Mexico that provide cities and individuals alike with water purification systems that allow them to reuse water. This innovation, which implemented in 2012, has already provided drinking water to 800 villages in Mexico.
- The Morelos State Project is providing wells to increase the quantity of clean water available. In 2015, Rotary partnered with the government of Xochitepec to provide clean water to 6,000 individuals who did not previously have clean water access. Due to the success of the project, WASRAG is expanding its efforts to six other districts in Mexico.
- The focus on cleaning the New River in Mexico has decreased the quantity of bacteria, pesticides, trash and industrial run-off present in the river and in groundwater. The New River Improvement Project, which started in 2009, has successfully decreased bacteria tenfold, along with nitrate and phosphorus (dangerous organic compounds) which have dropped below detection rates. These efforts have decreased sanitation-related diseases, as well as increased water and air quality.
Despite the limited quality and quantity of clean water, Mexico is significantly increasing access to safe water supplies and making strides to resolve dangerous sanitation issues. Non-governmental organizations, foreign direct investments and the Mexican government are improving sanitation and decreasing diseases related to a lack of access to clean water. These 10 facts about sanitation in Mexico show both the progress in sanitation and the solutions others are proposing to existing problems.
– Denise Sprimont