Published On: Mon, Aug 6th, 2012

Sanitizing Contaminated Ring of Cenotes Begins

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Mayan Priest, Sebastian May Pech led the Mayan ceremony that initiated the first cleaning of cenotes in Tza Itza, a municipality of Tecoh. As part of the program of sanitation and integrated management of the cenotes in Yucatan, the Secretario de Desarrollo Urbano y Medio Ambiento has planned to sanitize 24 cenotes and one lagoon, investing 1.3 million pesos.

Located in the central region of Yucatan and 25 kilometers from Merida, Tecoh is known as the “Route of the Convents”. Cenote Tza Itza is located to the East of the village Tecoh, its name originates from a woman who lived near the cenote. Sabina Itza, cared for the cenote and with the passing of time her name was changed to be pronounced Tza Xtza and finally to what it is known as today, Tza Itza.

The cenote is semi-open and divided by one dry part and the body. Within the cenote bones, ceramic pottery, and other archeological remains have been found.

In 1995, under the supervision of INAH, access steps were constructed with a rustic appearance. The cenote is about 15 to 20 meters in diameter and has a maximum depth of 21 meters.

To begin the process of sanitation, the priest Sebastian May, performed a special Mayan ceremony, called Je´edz´lu´um, of which has not been performed since 2005. The ceremony is to show appreciation for the earth, and for this occasion to ask permission from the gods and aluxes, to enter the cave and protect the visitors.

Dr. Eduardo Batllori Sampedro, Secretary of Seduma, presented the plan and stressed the importance of removing all the garbage, such as refrigerators, stoves, and the hundreds of things that contaminate the cenotes.

Concerning the reforestation, the plan is to protect one hectare around the contour of the cenote to avoid contaminating them with pesticides and garbage that could be washed into the cenote by the rains.

Sanitation of the cenotes project will be mainly focused on cenotes within the ring of cenotes, where studies have shown the most highly contaminated are and also supplies the aquifer for Merida.

Among the villages that will be included during this phase are Cuzama, Homun, Huhi, Mama, Tecoh, Tekit, Sanahcat, and Sotuta, of which were selected based on their relevance to the region, eco-touristic potential and local hydrology.

For more information about the contamination of cenotes in Yucatan, please read the special report: Serious Health Risks Found in Yucatan´s Famed Cenotes



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