When she was 17 years old, Miroslava Enciso Limón visited the city dump in Tijuana, Mexico as part of a school project. She was disturbed by the sight of entire families living among the garbage, digging through it in hopes of finding clothes, food, and any items that could be sold. When she asked a child what his dream for the future was, he answered, "To shower, to feel what its like to have hot water fall on me." Although she'd always claimed that she wanted to be a firefighter, she decided then to instead dedicate her life to bettering the situation of the people living among the piles of refuse.
Now, at 27 years old, Miroslava Enciso Limón is implementing a recycling system that will alleviate both the social and environmental suffering long associated with the Tijuana dump. A machine she designed during her final year of studies at Tijuana's Institute of Technology, where she earned a degree in Industrial Engineering, rips open bags and empties garbage onto conveyor belts, where the trash is sorted by workers into recyclable and biodegradable categories. Enciso Limón admits that she could have automated the sorting system, but she wanted to employ those who used to be scavengers. Perhaps their job is similar to what it has always been, but those who sort the trash now have latex gloves and face masks to protect them from contact with the filth, a cool building in which to work, a regular salary, and health benefits.
Who says one woman can't make a difference?
UPDATE: According to an article in the Spanish-language newspaper ZETA, Enciso Limón is also having to fight governmental corruption as she turns her recycling facility into a reality. Tecate's City Hall Municipal Treasure, Marco Antonio Lizárraga Navarro, has reportedly pocketed some of the recycling center's funds by brokering fraudulent deals concerning some city-owned junk cars. Lizárraga Navarro has been charged with abuse of power, bribery, embezzlement and illicit negotiations. So, Ericka Miroslava Enciso Limón is defending the impoverished and the environment while battling corrupt government officials. Someone buy this woman a cape and a mask, already, because it doesn't get more superhero than that.