Tuesday, September 22, 2009


The community in question occupied a tract of land at the foot of the mesa. Above it hunkered the remains of Reciclaje Integral, a deserted smelting and battery recycling plant. For years the residents of Vista Nueva had reported skin ulcers, respiratory ailments, birth defects. A number of children had died. …
When it became apparent that charges would be brought against him in a Mexican court, however, the owner, an American, simply filed for bankruptcy in Mexico, left the factory as it stood, and withdrew across the border, where he continued to prosper. … He lived in a million-dollar house somewhere in San Diego County while his deserted plant continued to poison the residents of Vista Nueva—Kem Nunn (Tijuana Straits 25)

Going further back in time, the San Remo of my childhood springs to mind, and I see the dustbin man with his sack on his back walking up the hairpins of the drive as far as the villa to collect the rubbish from the zinc bin: our genteel lifestyle seemed guaranteed for all eternity by the availability of cheap labour—Italo Calvino (The Road to San Giovanni 99)

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