Garbage and carcinogenic pesticides are contaminating the Yucatán Cenotes


Of the thousands cenotes that Yucatán has, only 99 are considered as properly protected with the necessary infrastructure and security to be visited without risk of an accident.

The so-called Yucatan Cenotes Ring, which is formed by 99 of these bodies of water distributed in 27 municipalities -although there are more than five thousand in the area-, is a semicircular alignment of these aquifers, related to the impact theory that 66 million years ago, the Chicxulub asteroid fell on the Peninsula, creating a huge crater, and ending the Mesozoic era, fracturing the calcium carbonate rocks that make up the peninsular platform, forming thousands of cenotes across the states of Campeche, Quintana Roo and Yucatan.

The crater is buried by more than a thousand meters of limestone, with depressions full of water, some of immense depth, which make up a kind of ring.

Its importance is not only touristic, it is a unique hydrological system in the world determined by the high permeability of the subsoil in an area with high water flow in a network of caverns that act as underground rivers, water reserves and external outlets called cenotes , which are large cavities with muddy waters that lead to ponds on the surface of the land.

The lack of culture of health in many communities has caused these valuable water deposits to be contaminated, because garbage and other types of waste generated by humans leaks into the water table, converting the Yucatan cenotes into latrines.The pig farms installed near these bodies of water are supposed to filter their sewage through biodigesters, which allegedly contributes to the rescue of the cenotes.

Another of the main enemies of the cenotes are organochlorine pesticides, which can activate genotoxic and carcinogenic processes in rural areas, where Maya indigenos people usually spray their crops with pesticides, contaminating the water they will later extract from their wells to drink. Severe diseases are triggered by daily consumption of the highly contaminated liquid.

Studies have revealed that the Yucatecan municipalities with the greatest levels of water contamination are Tekit and Tekax, in the south of the state, and in Dzilam González and Dzilam de Bravo, in the northwest, where water purity is supposed to be renewed during the rainy season.

Specialists from Cinvestav and UNAM pointed out that the real problem is that there is not a norm that protects these bodies of water, that have provided water to the peninsula from ancestral times.

Added to this situation, the constant deforestation makes it worst – Yucatan has lost a quarter of its vegetation in the last 25 years -, livestock and cracks facilitate water pollution.

TYT Newsroom with information from