Population growth and real estate developments are affecting the water quality in Yucatan: CIR

(Photo: La Jornada Maya)

Population growth, coupled with the “worrying” increase in new real estate developments, which proliferate in a disorderly manner in the Mérida metropolitan area, impact the quality of water in Yucatán, said Dr. Mónica Chávez Guzmán, a researcher at the Center for Regional Research Dr. Hideyo Noguchi (CIR) of the Autonomous University of Yucatan (UADY).

(CIR).- “It is very concerning because we see impressive growth, I do not think that all new constructions have water treatment and the aquifer is already highly polluted. We have to take into account that there is a carrying capacity,” she warned.

“Now we are a lot more inhabitants, the garbage cans are larger, the garbage has an impact because it is not deposited properly,” added the specialist.

The academic warned that the water from the aquifer is at great risk, as it is highly contaminated, especially due to the megaprojects that have been detonated for years, and the pig and poultry farms; therefore, the participation of all sectors is vital, she said.

Among some commitments that must be made, are moderating consumption, separating waste, cleaning septic tanks, having biodigesters, collecting cooking oil and preventing it from reaching the mantle, recovering the ancient Maya practice of collecting water from rain, among other actions.

According to Chávez Guzmán, there is a tendency to build upwards with vertical buildings, since it is expensive to supply basic services to the population in the peripheries, however, the specialist asked herself: “Are we going to be able to handle all this? Are we going to be able to supply water in the future to a huge number of people living in the state of Yucatan?”

So, in her opinion, this trend of accelerated growth of the urban sprawl should be suspended because it is unsustainable.

Also, the biologist stressed that climate change, added to the increase in population and the pollution generated by humanity, severely affects the aquifer.

“Everything that spills on the surface of the Yucatan Peninsula is going to end up in the underground aquifer that is linked to one another through channels,” she stressed.

This is complicated, because the flow of water is distributed from the center, the most wooded area, which captures rainwater, towards the coasts. In other words, if it is contaminated, everything will end up in the seas, and the flora and fauna will be wiped out from the ecosystem, she added.

On the other hand, the specialist revealed that the garbage and waste generated by humans is a “tremendous” problem, which has worsened with the increase in population.

“There are more and more people, there is more garbage and all these elements release leachate when they come into contact with the rains that spill into the aquifer,” she stressed.

There are clandestine garbage dumps on highways, streets, and it must be taken into account that waste pollutes the earth and the air; at the same time.

And besdies, the aquifer is also damaged by detergents and chemicals.

Added to this is the problem of feces, open-air fecalism, which is also aggravated with the increase in population.

Agrochemicals

She indicated that the use of agrochemicals, in addition to contaminating the “water table”, also has dangerous effects on people’s health.

There are studies from the UADY and the CIR that show that certain diseases, such as breast cancer and damage to the male sexual organs, which are linked to glyphosate from transgenics, pesticides used to control weeds in agriculture; all this reaches the aquifer, she added.

“The aquifer is currently at great risk and we urgently need everyone’s participation to care for this vital liquid,” the specialist said.

Given this, she proposed some basic commitments to have clean water on the peninsula: value water and only use what is necessary, avoid leaving open faucets and separate waste.

Likewise, determine collection points for products that contain dangerous substances, such as batteries, accumulators, cell phones, televisions, agrochemical containers, medicines, expired, hospital material, to take them to special deposits.

Also, store the waste oil used in the kitchen in closed containers, must not be disposed in the sink.

The Yucatan Times
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