Home PlanetYucaEnvironment Construction works drill underground caverns in section 5 of the Mayan Train

Construction works drill underground caverns in section 5 of the Mayan Train

by Yucatan Times
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Researchers and environmentalists documented this weekend the placement of structures in underground caverns of the Aktun T’uyul system.

QUINTANA ROO, MEXICO.- Underground caves of the Aktun T’uyul System , which extends under Section 5 South of the Mayan Train —which goes from Playa del Carmen to Tulum—are crossed by piles that affect the underground ecosystem, altering the quality of the water. and destroying geological heritage, speleologists and activists denounced.

On Sunday, January 21st, members of the Sélvame del Tren collective and SOS Cenotes documented the first driving of piles in dry caverns. Hydrologist Guillermo D’Christy laid out how structures cut through dry caverns, particularly at an intersection between Manitas and Oppenheimer caves.

“The AMLO administration has placed the first concrete and steel piles along the Aktun T’uyul cave system. The perforations have destroyed part of the karstic soil and subsoil, the piles will be placed and the environmental destruction will continue”, Hydrologist Guillermo D’Christy stated.

“We were supposed to protect this system of caves and cenotes, and the promise was that they were not going to be touched”, said Diego Prieto [general director of the National Institute of Anthropology and History] and well, they lied to us, because the caverns have been drilled and concrete is being injected into them,” D’Christy explained in a video.

Guillermo D’Christy and the speleologist Roberto Rojo, agreed that one of the first effects that these pieces have, in addition to destroying the structure itself, is the impact on the quality of the underground water, normally crystalline and now murky and muddy.

There are also fears of the implications that iron corrosion will have on the aquifer, which, practically, are the veins that give life to all of Quintana Roo and the whole Yucatan Peninsula.

“At the end of all, the big issue of all this devastation and illegalities has to do with water. Over two million inhabitants depend on this water system to live and if it becomes contaminated, it will be a catastrophe

“We are not saying that it is only the train’s fault; we also talk about water discharges, more than 600 new real estate developments, urban disorder, deforestation, and the lack of sufficient treatment plants. We are going to run out of water,” D’Christy warned.

The speleologist Roberto Rojo mentioned the impact on the natural conditions of humidity, temperature and light that make possible the life of wildlife species, some of them endemic, within these caverns, and the impact on the geological and archaeological heritage generated by the driving. of piles, machinery irresponsibly destroying stalagmites and stalactites that are 800 thousand years old.

“To put this terribe situation in perspective: the human species is 200 thousand years old, that is, those stalactites were forming in the caves of Quintana Roo more than half a million years before there was a human being on planet Earth. That is why these structures and the whole natural cave system of the Peninsula deserve respect”, Rojo said.

“Inside the caves, more than 42 species of Ice Age animals have been found, whose remains are there. Even remains of human skeletons, which tells us that there is a heritage of humanity that deserves to be explored, discovered and studied properly, and that by driving thousands of piles into this fragile ecosystem, all will be lost. We will never know the amount of what was there, due to the destruction that the the underground cave system is undergoing right now,” he stressed.

Rojo added that Quintana Roo is recognized worldwide as “the Mecca of cave diving,” which is why the concern of this sector has grown due to the evident demolition of these important natural structures that used to hold crystal clear water.

“We don’t know if the turbidity of the water will be permanent or only while the works last. We do not know the effects of the oxidation of the steel rods inside the structures and, in general, we do not know the specific impacts that these piles will generate, because this was not evaluated under scientific methods”.

“As a speleologist, when I saw the image of the pile crossing the cave it made me very sad, because the impact on the archaeological and geological heritage is irreversible,” the expert said.

Although the placement of piles in Section 5 of the Maya Train – from Cancún to Tulum – is briefly mentioned in the environmental impact statement presented in May 2022 to the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), it was not detailed or It did not specify where, how many and how they would be placed or what the ecological impact would be.

“For this plan to be properly carried out, the federal government and/or the company Grupo México had to implement a soil mechanics study, which never was carried out at all”, explained biologist Jorge Escobar.

On December 29, 2023, a new expedition in the Oppenheimer and Manitas caves revealed the first perforations of the cavernous system. The next thing was the placement of the first piles, on January 21.

Those interviewed agreed that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador promised that cenotes and caverns would not be damaged during the construction of the Maya Train, but the evidence shows that this is not the case, and so the president lied.

On May 15, 2023, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador assured that the cenotes, underground rivers and caves would be protected during and after the construction of the work, a promise previously made in April 2022, when members of Sélvame del Tren began to question him. the start of works on Section 5 South, before Semarnat even had the environmental impact statement in its hands to evaluate the project.

“All we know is that they are already drilling the caves, when the president himself said that there would be no impact on the caverns,”  Hydrologist Guillermo D’Christy concluded.

TYT Newsroom

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