Last update:

Contamination in El Salto, Mexico


The combination of untreated sewage, violation of environmental regulations by the Los Laureles landfill, illegal dumps and high concentrations of pollutants, recurring violations to health and safety rights, created serious environmental degradation in the municipalities of El Salto and Juanacatlán, Jalisco. While the Government failed to intervene, local citizens got organised and took action to properly address those issues. Several social movements and organizations reported increasing socio-environmental degradation, as well as water contamination caused by discharge of municipal and industrial wastewater, faulty practices at Los Laureles landfill, discharge of untreated dangerous substances, flue gas emissions by incinerators El Verde and El Castillo in an area without proper urban planning.

See more
Basic Data
Name of conflict:Contamination in El Salto, Mexico
State or province:Jalisco
Location of conflict:El Salto, Juanacatlan
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Water treatment and access to sanitation (access to sewage)
Specific commodities:Domestic municipal waste
Industrial waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The river receives approximately 815 liters per second of raw municipal wastewater from the southern part of the Guadalajara Urban Area.

See more
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:1500
Start of the conflict:1965
Company names or state enterprises:Caabsa Eagle
Salud y Ecologia del Nuevo Milenio S.A.
IBM Mexico
ZF Sachs Suspension S.A. from Germany
Quimikao from Japan
Hilasal Mexicana S.A.
Celanese Mexicana
Ciba Espacialidades Quimicas from Spain
Alen de Occidente
Industria de Acumuladores de Jalisco from Mexico
Sanchez y Martin Jabones
Nestlé from Switzerland
Industria Ocatlan
Relevant government actors:SEMARNAT, Mexican Federal Government, PROFEPA, OCLSP, Secretara de Salud, CONAGUA, INE, Government of Jalisco, SEMADES
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Comit de Defensa Ambiental de El Salto A.C.MAPDER - Mexico, CEDMA - Mexico, Un Salto de Vida - Mexico, Un Salto a la Cultura - Mexico, Familias Unidas por la Vida - Mexico, IMDEC - Mexico, Fundacion Lerma-Chapala-Santiago-Pacifico, Juanacatln en Accion, Sociedad Amigos del Lago de Chapala - Mexico, IDEA - Mexico, Vecinos de la Comunidad de Juanacatl·n - Mexico, Comite pro-Defensa de Arcediano - Mexico, Amigos de la Barranca - Mexico, Ciudadanos por el Medio Ambiente - Mexico, Red Ciudadana - Mexico, VIDA - Mexico, Grupo Ecologista El Roble - Mexico
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Informal workers
Local ejos
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Fires, Genetic contamination, Global warming, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths
Potential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Other Health impactsA child, Miguel Angel Lopez Rocha, died in 208 by arsenic intoxication after falling in the polluted waters of the Santiago River.
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Institutional changes
Application of existing regulations
Proposal and development of alternatives:The complete restoration of the area and an economic compensation for the affected families.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Although the Government of the State accepts 69 out of 100 recommendations (establishing an environmental emergency in the municipalities of El Salto and Juanacatlan, identifying those areas in need of ecological restoration, taking proper care of ill people and implementing prevention and detection campaigns, approving a legislation for the treatment and re-utilization of water, providing more autonomy, a proper judicial status and further resources to the Agency for Environmental Protection, PROFEPA), the pollution in El Salto and Juanactlan continue being too high, and the affected families are not given a compensation yet.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

the NOM-001-ECOL-1996 Act

The Industrial Development Law

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Defensa y gestion comunitaria del agua en al campo y la ciudad. Andres Barreda y Enrique Ortiz et. al. ITACA, hic-al, rls y Casifop. 2007

Marco global de referencia para la accion jurdica en la defensa del medio ambiente. Los derechos humanos contra las represas y otros proyectos neoliberales. CIEPAC. 2005

Social and environmental crisis and death in El Salto, Jalisco. Graciela Gonzlez Torres. Third Health Promotion Forum and Meeting with students attending the Course Health, Environmental Crisis and Social Rights of the Universidad Autonoma, Mexico City. 2010

Justificacion encuesta calidad de vida. Gerri Compani y Nayeli. 2009

[click to view]

[click to view]

Nadie hace nada por solucionar el caso de las plantas tratadoras de agua que siguen sin operar desde julio del 2009, y por donde desembocan aguas negras
[click to view]

Impune ecocidio en el Río Santiago.

[click to view]

Vecinos de El Salto y Juanacatlán protestan por contaminación del río Santiago
[click to view]

Other documents

Marco global de referencia para la accion jurdica en la defensa del medio ambiente. Los derechos humanos contra las represas y otros proyectos neoliberales. CIEPAC. 2005
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Lucie Greyl
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:481
Legal notice / Aviso legal
We use cookies for statistical purposes and to improve our services. By clicking "Accept cookies" you consent to place cookies when visiting the website. For more information, and to find out how to change the configuration of cookies, please read our cookie policy. Utilizamos cookies para realizar el análisis de la navegación de los usuarios y mejorar nuestros servicios. Al pulsar "Accept cookies" consiente dichas cookies. Puede obtener más información, o bien conocer cómo cambiar la configuración, pulsando en más información.