Local government seeks to relocate brick makers
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
Because of urban growth, seven kilns located in Nuevo Pantoja are now within the city limits, generating not only employment for around 50 families but also environmental pollution. A group of residents from the nearby neighborhoods have complained to municipal administrators over the years, but the problem has been handed down from one administration to the next.
In 2012 several letters denouncing the air pollution in San Miguel were addressed to the PROFEPA (Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection), as well as to UNESCO, and dozens of emails were sent to former mayor Luz María Núñez. The administration tried to solve the problem by building MK2 ecological kilns at Parque Ladrillero in San Isidro Capadero, where some test firings were done, in order to relocate the brick makers. The brick makers said that the municipality did not fulfill its commitment to pay expenses for the test firings and also that the kilns did not work because the bricks, instead being red, were brown, which meant that they were not fired correctly. They also argued that the relocation would increase their costs, which would cause them to raise the price of their product. In addition, the brick makers said, Parque Ladrillero did not have electricity or potable water and there is not a kiln for each brick maker.
Recently, the city council approved the land use for Parque Ladrillero, even though brick making has not begun there. City councilor Martha Rocío López Galván, secretary of the Commission of Urban Development, Ecology and Alcohol, said that during this administration they will try to relocate the brick producers from Nuevo Pantoja and in this way benefit all sanmiguelenses, including the brick makers.
“The subject of the brick makers is very delicate, and it is also an important social issue. I wish I could get them to come to an agreement, but as vendors—and I am a vendor, too—their vision is very narrow. They think that if they are relocated their sales will diminish, but if they have a place with a parking lot and good access and are not polluting the air, that would be a benefit for everyone. But for them it is impossible to look beyond the present. As vendors we believe that there will not be enough money to invest in something better, but this is an improvement and my intention as city councilor is to bring about better development for San Miguel so that everyone can benefit. We are always afraid to change, but sometimes change is good. Relocating the brick producers has been considered by many administrations, but I hope to have enough time to bring it about.”