Environmental organizations sent a letter to the federal government about the threat posed by the project to the Cuxtal municipal reserve, the risk to karst geohydrological systems.
CANCUN, Mexico (El Economista) – Several environmental organizations, specialists, and citizens group in the collective Articulación Yucatán sent a letter to federal and state authorities regarding the Tren Maya impacts project on the Yucatan aquifer and, in particular, on the city of Merida.
In the letter, the collective states their concern for the deficiency in analyzing the social and environmental impacts of the Mayan Train in the Yucatan peninsula.
They warn of the risk to the karst geohydrological systems of the peninsula, characterized by their fragility and the existence of a subway aquifer, with severe problems of overexploitation and contamination in the most populated metropolitan area of the region. This includes the municipalities of Merida, Uman, Kanasin, and Conkal, with more than 1 million inhabitants, according to data from the 2020 Planning and Housing Census of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi).
Also, the letter mentions that the state of Yucatan “suffers from insufficient sewage and capacity to treat its wastewater, which translates into a state of continuous contamination of the peninsular water table.” This has been pointed out during 2020 both to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) during the environmental impact assessment process for Phase 1 of the Mayan Train and in forums organized by the Municipal Planning Institute of Merida (Implan).
They charge that this problem has not been identified or addressed by UN-Habitat, nor by the Fondo Nacional de Fomento al Turismo (Fonatur), nor by Implan.
“This chain of responsibilities perfectly illustrates the lack of effective participation of local, municipal, and state authorities in the decision-making process of a project that profoundly impacts the region. Likewise, the absence of experts on the karst and the Yucatan aquifer is evident, which denotes a serious problem in the planning and execution process of this important federal project,” they state.
Future of the region
They state that the Mayan Train threatens the Cuxtal municipal reserve, declared as a zone subject to ecological conservation, fundamental for the recharge of the aquifer, and various environmental services to Merida’s city.
“Without having the right of way, this area runs the risk of being fragmented, not only by the construction of the railway facilities but also by the continuous passage of trains for the next 50 years. Besides, this territory is inhabited by a Mayan population that has not exercised its right to self-determination, under international commitments of the Mexican State”, they add.
Finally, they point out that despite the numerous denunciations made publicly and continuously about this problem, the co-responsible authorities have not given concrete answers. On the contrary, they have been in charge of evading their responsibilities and minimizing or discrediting the denouncers, advancing in their plans, and working around the Mayan Train.
They request a public hearing, where the region’s future is built through public debate, guaranteeing access to information, public participation, and access to justice in environmental matters as stipulated in the Escazú Agreement, ratified by the Mexican government in January 2021.
Articulación Yucatán describes itself as a social organization and a space for transdisciplinary collaboration in favor of sustainable regional development. It comprises members of civil society, local, urban, and rural communities, Mayan peoples and social organizations, specialists, academics, and students.
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