Each year the wetland area loses between 1,500 and 2,000 hectares of mangroves; it is expected that in 30 years, these important ecosystems would be literally erased from the coasts of Yucatan.
“The citizen complaints indicate that there is an unprecedented devastation of the red, white and gray varieties of mangroves that are listed as protected, but the omission in preventive surveillance causes its deforestation by construction companies who want to make streets, buildings, housing and small tourist developments, “said Ignacio Machaín Sosa, general secretary of the National Union of Agricultural Workers (Unión Nacional de Trabajadores Agropecuarios: UNTA).
Only in recent months inspectors of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (Profepa) have suspended or closed a total of 1,345 hectares, due to the affectation of wetlands, in the municipalities of Progreso San Felipe and Río Lagartos, which correspond to the Protected Natural Area known as Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve.
“The problem is that there is no surveillance by environmental authorities in the area, and it is totally useless for the Profepa inspectors to come to the reserve, when the mangrove has been cut down already,” said the leader.
In recent days the National Union of Agricultural Workers UNTA, presented an appeal to the delegate of the Federal Procurator’s Office for Environmental Protection (Profepa) in Yucatan, José Lanfontaine Hamul, to carry out a detailed inspection as soon as possible and with qualified personnel, of a mangrove area of the protected in the Ría Lagartos reserve, which includes the municipalities of Río Lagartos and San Felipe, for the possible ecocide that is being committed there.
Machaín Sosa recalled that Article 28 of the General Law of Ecological Equilibrium and Environmental Protection; Article 60 of the General Law of Wildlife; as well as the Official Mexican Standard NOM-022-Semarnat 2003, establishes the specifications for the preservation, conservation, sustainable use and restoration of the coastal wetlands in the mangrove zone, and these laws and regulations must be observed and regulated promptly.
“The lack of surveillance and sanctions by Profepa clearly contravene the current environmental regulations, so we are requesting that the administrative file be turned over to the Attorney General’s Office (PGR), so that the investigation can be carried out and the perpetrators consigned in the terms of Article 418 of the Federal Code, “he said.
Almost 5,000 square meters of mangrove from the Protected Natural Area of the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve in Yucatan have been cut down and can now be seen on the ground. This is a priority site at the national level for the conservation of wetlands, housing a significant diversity of flora and fauna, which has been severely affected.
As stipulated by the Mexican law, those responsible may be subject to a fine of more than one million pesos and up to 9 years in prison, so it will be important to follow up on the actions of municipal, state and federal authorities, and see if they do something about it.
The municipal government of Río Lagartos is the alleged responsible for this terrible ecocide, according to anonymous statements by residents, who fearing reprisals from mayor Juana Baltazar Santos and her trustee Felipe Antonio Marrufo López, prefer to remain anonymous. But they decided to call the authorities attention so this situation does not continue or go unpunished due to the impotence of not having the support and intervention of any authority.
Anonymous sources say that these actions had been carried out with the approval of Marrufo López, who is known in the area with the nickname of “Catarino“, breaking federal laws and disobeying Profepa, which is the government agency responsible to regulate and supervise this type of action. “Catarino” has stated that, as they own these lands, they can do whatever they want, “after all, the mangrove trees recover after a while.”
The Yucatecan community has expressed that it is “disturbing and outrageous to see this type of attacks against nature all over the state, as is the case of Homún, since these damages cause greater damage not only for the inhabitants of that area, but for the whole population of the state and the country, as our environment can not recover from these catastrophic actions commited by ambitious persons and ignored by our authorities.
Residents of Río Lagartos declared that they expect the intervention of the authorities, “who have the task of safeguarding these protected areas; as well as the support of the citizenship together with the media, who with the diffusion of the subject can help to stop this terrible ecocide”.
TYT Newsroom with information from laverdadnoticias.com