Mexican environmental authorities have levied a 7.2 million pesos ($555,000 USD), fine against Dragon Mart, a project to build a massive trade center south of Cancun,Quintana Roo, to showcase Chinese products.
The Attorney General for Environmental Protection declared on Thursday, August 14th, the fine was for building roads through wetlands and affecting coastal ecosystems without authorization.
The office said the project known as “Dragon Mart” did not wait for authorization of environmental impact statements for the work.
It was unclear whether work on the project just south of Cancun could be closed, because the case is still before the courts.
Dragon Mart, located just south of the resort of Cancun, describes itself as an “international product exhibition center … with a special emphasis on China.” The company said in a statement to The Associated Press that it was studying the sanction but did not believe that the project had caused any environmental damage.
The project has been criticized by environmentalists because its sprawling size — about 350 acres (142 hectares) of residential, warehouse and exhibition space — and because of concerns about deforestation and the massive quantities of wastewater it could create.
Environmentalists said on Friday, August 15th that the fines were a positive step, but called for the project to be halted or scaled down.
Activist Rosa Elisa Rodríguez of the United Voice for Puerto Morelos group called the fines “a first step.”
“I think there are a lot of things behind this that must be investigated, such as how they could have gotten (construction) permits without having realized the need for environmental impact statements,” Rodriguez said. “If the laws were really correctly enforced, I think this (project) shouldn’t continue, or if it does, in a much more controlled way.”
The decision was the latest battle against almost uncontrolled development of World Class, 5 Star, All Inclusive Resorts along the coast south of Cancun, in the area we now know as Riviera Maya.