Monday, January 30, 2006

Are squatters polluting Mexico City?

El Universal reports that squatters are continuing to erect shacks along the Mexican capital's canals. "Unchecked growth could contaminate the city´s water supply and worsen its already notoriously bad air," the newspaper reports.

Though it's hard to imagine how squatters could worsen air pollution in the hazy high-altitude city, the point the article is missing is that there need to be alternatives for the squatters if they are to stop occupying sensitive areas.

Also, despite the alarmist tone of the article, if you read down you will discover that, in the past two years, authorities have seen 100 new homes sprout up along the canals--which is hardly a massive influx. It's also unclear who these squatters are. True desperate squatters would be in the homes already. So these homes are probably being built by speculators who are taking advantage of the city's lax enforcement to make a few quick pesos.

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