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Global film highlights polluted Tijuana River, impact on San Diego County

'Last Paddle?' shines light on toxic waterway
Posted at 5:55 PM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 20:55:38-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Canadian River conservationist, Mark Angelo, stars in the new film "Last Paddle? 1000 Rivers, 1 Life."

Angelo travels the world, revealing the damaging environmental and societal ravages of polluted rivers from Africa to San Diego. He walks the canals of Tijuana, tracing the toxic chemicals, most likely coming from factories illegally dumping their toxic waste.

Angelo references in the film that it was a call from ABC 10News anchor Kimberly Hunt which put this river on his radar.

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In 2017, Angelo traveled to San Diego to meet Hunt. The two were taken to restricted areas surrounding the river by U.S Customs and Border Patrol. Angelo saw the pools of blue, red, and green liquid believed to be coming from a tannery in Tijuana.

The two walked to areas where the water was so thick, full of trash, and toxic waste that they couldn't proceed. Border Patrol agents reported rashes, illnesses, and rubber boots melting after contact.

RELATED: Mark Angelo and Kimberly Hunt tour San Diego's South Bay and Tijuana River sewage impact

Hunt's story with Angelo is referenced in "Last Paddle?," as was the response from the federal government. The EPA announced a $300 million investment for border pollution cleanup.

As "Last Paddle?" makes clear, that money is a critical start. But without action, will not solve the environmental disaster of the Tijuana River Valley and San Diego County's South Bay beaches.

Learn more about "Last Paddle?" and how to watch the film at the San Diego International Film Festival here.