“When we destroy Tulum… are we going to continue with Bacalar? When will we learn? ―diver Alberto Fricsione.
TULUM Quintana Roo (Televisa). – “There is a major problem with solid waste in Tulum. They produce an average of 100 tons a day and during high season goes up to 170 tons a day and they don’t have the infrastructure to handle that load of garbage” explained biologist Olmo Torres Talamante, director of Razonatura, a non-profit organization that supports sustainable development and conservation of natural resources in Mexico.
Today the landfill is on the verge of collapse. The useful life of the site was planned for 10 years, but it was filled in less than half of that time and environmental organizations believe this solution won’t work since it will contaminate everything around it. As an example they cite an open-air landfill that ceased operating at the end of 2015 and has not been cleaned up. From the air, the old Tulum dump looks like a gray spot in the middle of the virgin part of the jungle.
Tons of plastic, glass, PET bottles, old furniture and all kinds of waste are stacked on 9 hectares of land located near the road to Coba. Landfill leachate, the extremely polluting liquid that drains from the garbage, is not properly managed, and leaks into the subsoil and has become a threat to Tulum. “There are some cenotes that already show degrees of contamination and above all there are very strong indicators in the reef, there is a new disease that are presenting corals called the white plague and is derived from the activities we do here on land,“ insisted biologist Olmo Torres Talamante.
“The largest system of underground river caverns is here in Tulum, there are endless networks of rivers”. Explains dive instructor and environmentalist Alberto Fricsione regarding this subject and the danger of contamination.
In addition to land-based pollution, Tulum’s underground rivers are at risk from aquifer recharge from treated water. Tulum’s soil type is extremely permeable and that makes it more fragile in the face of contamination.
Tulum’s mayor, Victor Más, agrees. “Fifty percent of the beauty of Tulum is at the bottom from all the underground rivers that Tulum has, which is why it is so important that we have to work very punctually today on the subject of sanitary drainage” (SIC).
Tulum is a beach destination that is part of the Riviera Maya. This area alone, generates for the country an economic income of about 9 billion dollars a year. Currently in Tulum there is no regulation that establishes fines for littering in the streets. Garbage collection in the neighborhoods is deficient. Until six months ago, there were only three collection trucks in operation; today there are 12, and still are insufficient.
To make matters worse, there are many places in the jungle that are being used as clandestine dumps.
According to environmental organizations, two out of every three kilograms of garbage in Tulum comes from hotels. “We have the advantage that we can afford the cost that is required to transport and properly dispose of waste… what we need now is a proposal that allows us to do so” said David Ortiz Mena, president of the Tulum Hotel Association.
The hoteliers say they do not see so any long-term plans of the authorities for a responsible management of garbage. Neither do the ecologists. This is rapidly becoming another ticking time-bomb
The Yucatan Times
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