Pig farming should be located in the south of the state to protect the water. Photo: (La jornada maya)

Mérida, Yucatán, (August 10, 2021).- The Yucatecan karst soil causes the filtration to go directly into the water table, therefore, they indicate pig farming as potentially polluting and, in order to carry out this activity, it is necessary to have at least one and a half meters of land (as a protective barrier to the water table).

The area of ​​Homún, where there is a conflict between inhabitants and the owners of a large pig farm, is an area that “is full of natural caves, cenotes, the ground there, and there is only a 5-centimeter (2 inches) layer of soil,” explains Dr. Francisco Bautista Zúñiga, of the Center for Research in Environmental Geography (CIGA) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

With the investigation “Evaluation of the Aptitude of Lands for the Development of Pig Farming at a Regional Scale in Yucatán”, the specialist together with Dr. Yameli Aguilar Duarte, identify which are the spaces of the Yucatecan soil to carry out pig farming with less damage to the environment and human health.

Finding the answer in its location to the south (Muna, Oxkutzcab, Santa Elena, Tekax, Ticul, and Tzucacab municipalities), where there is a minimum depth of one and a half meters towards the water, but they also suggest through the study to consult the native population before installing a pig farm.

“When the soil layer is very thin, it leaves the water table in a state of total vulnerability of contamination, with normal human activity. But if we are talking about a farm with 50 thousand pigs that produce 50 tons of manure per day, where does that end up? In the groundwater,” the specialist said.

He assures that until now a reactor has not been invented to treat so much manure, in addition to the fact that the farms produce for export and not for local consumption, “the meat goes away and the manure stays.”

“In Yucatan, two main problems have combined: highly polluting farms and a very fragile environment, for which he finds it necessary to locate strong environments that protect groundwater, with a soil layer of one and a half meters; where it does not rain so much and with no cenotes nearby. Places with those characteristics can be found in the south of Yucatán,” the expert added.

Based on his research, the expert proposes a place with deep soils because it can function as a treatment plant, “soils are reactors, they are natural water purification plants, solid waste treatment plants, but they have to be deep ”.

For this reason, although the technology in Yucatecan farms is very high, it indicates the special and particular needs for the karst soil, which is why he himself is a coordinator in the Mexican Association of Studies on the Karst (AMEK), considers it a must to inform all specialties about the characteristics of Yucatan, which are different to the north, south, and center of the state territory.

“The authorities need to take action on the matter so that they can resolve it with the law in hand, and it is also a call to pig farmers not to be fooled, ” he says.

Dr. Francisco Bautista Zúñiga also considers poverty as a problem that increases with this type of industry because salaries are very low and, being in the wrong areas, causes that same salary to have to be used to go to the doctor to be treated for the consequent illnesses. 

“A poor man who gets sick from the farms has to spend the money he doesn’t have on medicines”, the specialist concluded.

Source: La Jornada Maya

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