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President Calderón Inaugurates Bicentennial Park
email this pageprint this pageemail usSuzanne Stephens Waller - Presidencia de la República
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November 08, 2010

(Presidencia de la República)
On a plot of land measuring 55 ha that was formerly the site of the 18 de marzo refinery, President Felipe Calderón inaugurated the Bicentennial Park which, he said, is a symbol of Federal Government’s commitment to the environment.

“The Bicentennial Park reflects the efforts of Federal Government, which I have the honor to lead, to provide the city and the people of Mexico City with green areas where families can spend time together and thereby improve people’s quality of life.”

Accompanied by his wife, Margarita Zavala, Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources and Head of the Borough of Miguel Hidalgo, Demetrio Sodi de la Tijera, he congratulated “those that made it possible for us to turn the most polluted place in the country into a beautiful, healthy park that will improve the quality of life of Mexico City’s inhabitants.”

During the event, which was also attended by Secretaries of the Interior Francisco Blake Mora; Finance, Ernesto Cordero Arroyo; Labor, Javier Lozano Alarcón; Tourism, Gloria Guevara Manzo; Health, José Ángel Córdova Villalobos and National Defense, General Guillermo Galván Galván, as well as Director General of CONADE, Bernardo de la Garza, President Calderón said that the Inauguration of the Bicentennial Park “is a source of enormous satisfaction.”

And, he added. “Until recently, who would have thought that in the remains of a refinery, a refinery that had completed its useful life and had been the site of that enormous industrial complex known as the 18 de Marzo refinery we would now be inaugurating one of the largest parks in Mexico City: the Bicentennial Park."

He recalled that, “Only two years ago, we were here. I remember several collaborators: the Secretaries of the Environment and Energy, the Director of PEMEX, the Secretary of Social Development, the leader of the Union and several authorities I used to meet with to decide what to do with this area and how to turn it into a park.

He explained that, "The purpose is very clear and the challenge enormous: to celebrate the Year of the Independence Bicentennial and the Revolution Centennial with a park symbolizing our commitment to environmental protection.”

He said that mountains of earth had to be moved. "All the land in the 55 hectares you can see had to be moved to a depth of several meters to clean up the park. It is a truly colossal undertaking. This had to be done because you cannot build a park this size with pollutant waste because that would obviously affect people's health and the environment."

And, he said, “The point was not only to build a park but to meet our commitment to nature and human beings. One of the most important things the world has to do is to repair the enormous damage we have caused nature, which is what we wanted to do here, in the Bicentennial Park.

He explained that to achieve this goal, the cleaning of thousands of tons of earth impregnated with various pollutants such as gasoline and petroleum derivatives was speeded up. “As the engineers say, we had to remediate over a million cubic meters of earth,” he said.

In this respect, he said: “Today I can say that the Remediation Program submitted by Pemex Refining has been fully completed. That’s quite a feat. And today we are all walking on safe ground, and the 55 ha comprising this majestic park, which are over 10 times the size of Mexico City’s main square were cleaned up in record time.

“The Bicentennial Park is a symbol of Mexicans' commitment and Federal Government's commitment to the environment,” he said.

He invited the inhabitants of Mexico City and all Mexicans to enjoy this recreational area, which is free.

“Come and see the Orchid Farm we made, with the most beautiful orchid species in Mexico, which are bred in a specially adapted environment. An orchid farm built on what used to be the refinery's waste tank. We have not only cleaned up the place but actually turned the tank into one of the most beautiful Orchid Farms in the country,” he said.

"Everyone should come. I invite you to come here. Children and young people can play sports. I invite adults, mothers and fathers to come and use the playing fields, the cycle track, the five-a-side football pitch, beach volleyball courts, and skating rink, and teenagers can bring their skates and skating boards. In short. I invite you all to enjoy the park,” he said.

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