On an article posted on Friday August 30th, The Yucatan Times revealed that at least 30 apiaries were struck by the indiscriminate use of pesticides in the eastern side of the state, near a large extension of land allegedly owned by Yucatecan bunessman Jacobo Xacur; Despite the evidence, the Office of the Environmental Prosecutor decided to overlook the matter.
María Colín, legal campaigner of Greenpeace Mexico, said that most of the aerial fumigations that are made all over Mexico are illegal, so an immediate moratorium needs to be declared, since these actions are not only breaking with federal regulations, such as the NOM 052 FITO, but also with the requirements established by local laws (in the case of Yucatán).
“What we are asking for is definitely an emergency declaration in the area and a total stop to aerial spraying, these actions have to be prohibited; all these types of cocktails end up in the water tables, we know that the soil of the Yucatan Peninsula is calcareous, the chemicals are filtered immediately, and the cenotes and water tables get highly contaminated,” said the activist.
The beekeepers of the community of Dzonot Carretero also denounced that the fumigation contaminated a superficial cenote located a few meters from Don Elviro’s apiary. “Flamingos came before and there were ducks as well, right now no birds come to place anymore, there are no fish or turtles in the water either. We have observed that any animal that comes here dies, the water is contaminated,” said the old man, at the edge of the cenote who lost his crystalline water, and where remains of small dead animals can be seen.
For his part, the Yucatecan senator Jorge Carlos Ramírez Marín said he is working on agrochemicals and pesticide reforms, not only for the death of bees, but for the high levels of pollution in the aquifer.
“There is an overload of pollutants from these products, some of them banned in other countries, with indiscriminate use in Mexico, and we are giving that poison to farmers”. The senator agreed that aerial spraying should be banned.
Ramírez Marín acknowledged that he knows businessman Jacobo Xacur very well, and added that he has distinguished himself in Campeche for crops that intensify planting. “I don’t know to what extent can the same experience lived in Campeche, where Jacobo has been very successful, can be replicated in Yucatán; but that does not mean that he can do it anywhere, this cannot be allowed absolutely to anyone, aerial spraying must be absolutely prohibited and this has already been requested by the authorities, there cannot be aerial spraying in Yucatán”, said the senator.
María Colín from Greenpeace also stressed that more than 80 percent of the honey produced in the peninsular region is for export, so it is required that the pollen does not contain traces of transgenics and that the honey is free of agrotoxic contaminants.
So by allowing aerial spraying “an economic activity that is very important for the region is being put at risk, it is also a priority in terms of local economy that is complemented not only with agriculture, but Maya beekeeping communities complement their economy with these resources derived from the production of honey ”.
For four years, Octavio Gaspar, a researcher at the Jalisco Technology and Design Research and Assistance Center, Monterrey campus, managed to confirm that the collapse of the hives is strongly linked to the use of pesticides, hence the urgency of curbing their indiscriminate use , because they also represent a threat to human health.
Through toxicological examinations, he was able to demonstrate that in five communities of the Yucatan Peninsula, aerial spraying caused the massive death of bees, due to acute and lethal poisoning.
“These cases are very similar to those we have studied in other states of the country, we always find the presence of neonicotinoids and fipronil, these substances are extremely toxic to bees, a dose of 3 nanograms causes them to die immediately; but farmers do not know what the effects of these substances are, they not only affect bees, they have an important environmental and ecological impact, they also generate health effects. ”
The expert points out that this administration has made progress in recognizing that the excessive use of pesticides in agriculture is a problem at national level; In addition, in December 2018, the CNDH issued a recommendation to the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Health Service, Food Quality Safety and Cofepris to prohibit the use and commercialization of 50 active agents distributed in 350 chemical formulations.
Likewise, the Ministry of Agriculture announced that it is already preparing a technical project that will lead to an initiative to create the first standard to regularize the use of pesticides in the country.
The Yucatan Times Newsroom