Beachhouse owners destroy the coastal dunes, and now the sea devours houses in Progreso

(Photo: Yucatán al Instante)

Beach erosion problems continue in Progreso, which has led residents of beach areas to look for viable and ecologically sustainable options that allow the recovery of a few meters of sand, as the sea impacts directly the foundations of beachhouses.

Coastal dunes form when wet sand is deposited along the coast and dries out and is blown along the beach. Dunes form where the beach is wide enough to allow for the accumulation of wind-blown sand, and where prevailing onshore winds tend to blow sand inland.

Coastal sand dunes are aeolian landforms, found along the majority of the world’s coasts. This ecosystem located at the spatial transition between terrestrial and marine environments can be found in coastal areas where a supply of sand‐sized material is available to be transported by winds.

The coastal dune system is composed of three compartments: the shoreface (submerged beach), the beach (intertidal and supratidal), and the dune. These three compartments, being under permanent exchanges, must be considered as a whole

Due to the location of beach properties right next to the seashore in Progreso, water has become a serious inconvenience for the foundations of many houses, because the onslaught of the waves, together with the sand, causes gradual wear compromising the stability of the structures and, in many cases, causing considerable damage on walls, fences, stairs, and other structures.

According to data from the environmental authorities, the problems of erosion in these houses stem from their poor location as they are located on the coastal dune, an area that should never have been occupied and should be respected since it naturally functions as a line of defense for the breaking of the waves.

However, in the areas of Chuburná, Chelem, the eastern zone of Progreso, Chicxulub Puerto, and Uaymitun, many summer houses have been built on top of the coastal dune, right next to the seashore, facing beaches that are much less than ten meters long, so they directly suffer the effects of swells and winds.

It should be noted that the Constitution establishes that Mexico must have a Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone (Zofemat), which is a twenty-meter-wide strip of land adjacent to the beach.

The verification of the use and exploitation of the Zofemat, maritime beaches, and land reclaimed from the sea, administered by Semarnat, is the responsibility of Profepa and is strategic due to the wealth of its natural resources and the importance of the ecosystem.

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