Scientists and environmentalists reject the latest change in the route between Cancun and Tulum, which will pass through a jungle area full of caverns and cenotes.
(YUCATAN PENINSULA – El País) – Under the limestone soil of the Yucatan Peninsula, there hides an almost unreal world, full of subway rivers, cenotes, and caverns the size of immense cathedrals, which today are at risk because of the flagship project of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador: The Mayan Train.
The latest change in the Train’s route threatens to pass over Sac Actún, the most extensive flooded cave system on record, located not far from Tulum.
Biologist Rodrigo Medellín gathered a group of scientists and environmentalists to oppose the new route that threatens the more than 350 kilometers that makeup Sac Actún.
Alarm bells went off when, after a year of construction work and more than 22,000 trees cut down, it was announced that the Train would no longer pass along the road connecting Tulum and Cancun.
On the contrary, the new route would cross the jungle with many cenotes and caves such as those of Sac Actún. “This area is an immense freshwater reserve on which flora and fauna of the region depend, but also the population,” warned Medellín.
Likewise, the biologist questioned that the change in the route was motivated by the whim of the Riviera Maya hotel association, which refused to let the roads eat part of the entrance to their luxury resorts. “Of course, as the flora and fauna species have no way to file an injunction or go to court to stop the State from trampling on their rights, the easiest thing to do was to change the route,” said Valeria Towns, a biologist at the UNAM.
In this sense, Medellín warns of the risks of carrying out the project under the current conditions.“What worries me is that the development of the peninsula is at stake if we don’t have the ecosystem services they provide, such as pest control, seed dispersal, and pollination of jungle plants,” Medellín said.
It should be noted that this type of project should have an environmental impact study. However, by the decision of the President, the government’s star projects will “skip” this step to “speed up bureaucratic procedures.”
Finally, they explained the impact that the Mayan Train would have on the region’s fauna since jaguars drink water from these caves. “What they are not understanding is that tourists come to see a natural beauty, the caves, to snorkel in the cenotes. No one wants to come to see a train in the middle of the jungle”.
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