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New Website to Draw Attention to Trash at Arizona-Mexico Border

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July 2, 2010: Discarded water containers, a shoe and backpack are seen just south of U.S. border near the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona, revealing recent border-crossing activity. (Fox News)

PHOENIX -- A new website to draw attention to tons of trash discarded along the Arizona-Mexico border has been launched by state officials hoping to stem the flow of refuse left behind by illegal immigrants making their way into the United States.

The website, azbordertrash.gov, is also seeking volunteers to participate in cleanup efforts along Arizona's 370-mile border with Mexico.

"An estimated more than 2,000 tons of trash is discarded annually in Arizona's borderlands," the website reads. "A variety of federal and state government entities, Native American tribes and private landowners are affected by the problem, and addressing it requires extensive coordination."

The environmental impact caused by illegal immigration -- and the tons of trash left behind -- is being "increasingly" found in areas that are more fragile and remote, according to the website.

Trash discarded at the border by individuals involved in illegal immigration includes plastic containers, clothing, backpacks, vehicles, and paper, among other items. Human waste and medical products are also occasionally left behind, according to the website, which is funded by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

Accumulated refuse along the border can cause erosion and watershed degradation, damaged infrastructure and property and loss of vegetation and wildlife.

The average border crosser leaves approximately six to eight pounds of trash in the desert during a typical trek into the United States, according to the website.

"The cost of disposing of this trash is high for local communities," the website reads. "Landfill fees range from $37 to $49 per ton in Southern Arizona. These fees do not include costs for materials, equipment, labor and transportation for the collection and transfer of the trash to the landfill."

Click here for a 2006 report on efforts by the Minuteman Project to secure and clean the border.

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