Tequila is causing major environmental problems in Mexico

Washington, Feb 4 (ANI): The process of making Tequila from fibrous agave plants is causing major environmental problems in Jalisco, the Mexican state where the drink originated.

Los Angeles businessman Alejandro Viecco had visited the agave-fields surrounding the Mexican town of Tequila and found that the process of making the drink can be messy, smelly and disgusting.

"When you go to the town of Tequila, there's this beautiful fresh spring water coming through the lava rock," Fox News quoted him as saying.

"Then not that far away you have this waste that's being dumped. It has hot alcohol content and it's destroying everything in its path. If you looked at the creek, it was like running mud, and very pungent," he described.

For every litre of the liquor that distilleries produce, they throw away ten litres of hot, liquid waste (known as vinaza) and 5 to 6 kilograms of leftover, fibrous agave plant (bagasse).

Government rules are supposed to govern the disposal of these leftovers, but an awful lot ends up dumped illegally, so much so that it has created a major and smelly environmental problem.

Jose Hernandez, a researcher with the University of Guadalajara and member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences, told development-oriented wire service Tierramerica that the liquid waste is destroying the soil.

"The vinazas are acidic, they have an oil that makes the soil impermeable, and are hot when they are dumped. The acid is not recommended for agriculture; it should be neutralized," he said.

"The oil makes the soil hard so it is useless for farming. And where the ground cracks, the vinaza filters into underground water sources," he stated. (ANI)

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