Toxic Dust, Love and Asthma: A Mother’s Story in the Imperial Valley

Share Onyx and Humberto’s conversation and support the #ZeroEmissionsNow campaign.

Onyx Bazulto lives in the Imperial Valley in Southern California, where air quality is poor and one in five children has asthma. Her community of Brawley is located between the Salton Sea and the border crossing at Calexico-Mexicali, along a heavily traveled freight corridor.

Humberto Hugo, policy advocate with Comite Civico Del Valle, spoke with Onyx about what motivates her to do community health and education work. Here are excerpts from their conversation, which you can hear on

ONYX BAZULTO: I decided to take that step to change my community because I, for one, care for my family and their health. Both my daughter and I and my mom have asthma and ever since we moved to the Imperial Valley we’ve had many issues of allergies — having to go to the hospital plenty of times because of symptoms of asthma.


The first step I took to do something in our community was research and speaking out to family, friends and neighbors who were dealing with the same issues.


We live in a dust bowl, below sea level. Every other coastal area — all their pollution surrounds us and sinks in, as well as the incoming diesel contamination from the international exchange of goods.


Where I live, not even 10 feet away … trucks have found our nearby gas station to be a truck stop. Every day, every night, you’ll see a long row of semis idling their vehicles for long periods of time. And you know I live right next to the gas station. So I can see a lot of dust enter my home. And then you can smell the smog. So I never have my windows open. And it causes a lot of coughing for my daughter. I always have to be careful. She can’t even play outside.


I frequently have to dust, sweep, mop my home to lift the dust and dirt. I have to change AC air filters more than two times a month. It’s a rare joy to open my door and windows. When I do, a lot of dust comes in.


I would really love to have our community become more aware of their surrounding environmental justice issues and have them advocate to defend themselves.

PLEASE JOIN Onyx Bazulto and Humberto Hugo in the #ZeroEmissionsNow campaign to reduce diesel emissions in our communities. Share their conversation and show your support.

LEARN MORE about the work they are doing to improve the quality of life in the Imperial Valley by following Comite Civico Del Valle.

LISTEN to other conversations in our StoryCorps project, with people who are fighting for #ZeroEmissionsNow in their communities across the United States.

Register now for the 7th Annual Environmental Health Leadership Summit 2016 – October 22

Environmental activists and journalists – Please check out this invitation from the amazing community-based organization, Comite Civico del Valle, and sign up today!

Please JOIN US at the most important ENVIRONMENTAL EVENT in our region, coming to Brawley, CA, on October 22nd. And help us spread the word. This conference will touch on many environmental health issues that can change the quality of life in our area.

Informational Links:


For more information, please contact Israel Cruz (760) 351-8761,,

Thank you.
Comite Civico del Valle



Come to the IVAN Air Monitoring Launch Friday, Sept 30 in Heber CA

Comite Civico Del Valle and their partners are doing AMAZING citizen science work in the Imperial Valley. Come celebrate with them tomorrow, Friday, September 30 in Heber, California and learn about their 40 station air monitoring network.

Heber is less than two hours east of San Diego, California and under an hour from Yuma, Arizona. Check out the links below for more information.

Tracking asthma threats in the Imperial Valley’s hazy air, Desert Sun

“It is Up to Us”: Citizen Science in Imperial County, Sierra Club California/Nevada Desert CommitteeDesert Report


Participate in the Environmental Health Leadership Summit, October 22 in Brawley CA

CCV round logoComite Civico del Valle and the Summit Planning Committee are pleased to announce that the 7th Annual Health Leadership Summit will be held on October 22, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Brawley Union High School, 480 N Imperial Ave, Brawley, CA.

Please register at

The Environmental Health Leadership Summit is one of the most progressive events in the region. It brings community members, concerned citizens, progressive national organizations, conscientious scientists and policy advocates under one roof to discuss environmental and public health issues affecting environmentally marginalized and underserved regions like Imperial Valley.

The 2016 summit ensures that Imperial Valley residents have the venue and resources to network, build community capacity and promote civic engagement. This summit’s edition will include presentations, plenaries and workshops on topics such as Climate Change on Human Health, Asthma,  the Salton Sea, and Air Quality.

Visit for the complete agenda, and to learn about sponsorship opportunities.