HEBER, Calif. - Young people at the 8th Annual Imperial County Environmental Health Leadership Summit 2017 on Thursday and Friday in Heber told state officials they’re being affected by air quality in the area.
Brawley High School Student Sabrina Marie Wilkerson said, “I shouldn’t have to wake up and go to school and a will full of dust and particles from Salton Sea and chemicals and just everything that’s been put into the ground and now are circling and going into our lungs.”
Benito Gomez, Jr. III, Brawley High School senior, said, “Asthma is the big problem here in the Imperial Valley. Especially, since the air quality is not the best one in the world.”
12-year-old Asher Medina said his life is limited because of his asthma condition.
“I remember missing many basketball games, many activities that involved outside. And, many of my friends also got asthma. So, we missed a lot of stuff because of the fields burning. And I would like to know which one of you can help with the stopping fields burning?” Medina asked of the panel of state officials.
Throughout the two days, students and community shared their many concerns with state officials who said they’re working on these problems.
Assembly Member 56th District Eduardo Garcia said, “Sacramento came to the Imperial Valley for the purpose of hearing the concerns of the people that I represent.”
He said community discussion leads to action at the state level.
“There is efforts and progress being made, incremental progress along with state funding being allocated to addressing Salton Sea needs.”
Event organizers said giving the community a chance to ask those questions is the whole point of the conference.
Comite Civico del Valle Director Jose Luis Olmedo said, “It is powerful to hear those messages from people who, like youth who are directly affected by asthma.”