April 6, 2024
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Environmental Alert Over Tulum’s Caves

TULUM, Mexico – In a stark demonstration of environmental and cultural disregard, activist Roberto Rojo has taken to Facebook to share a distressing video showcasing the intrusion of machinery into a cenote, part of the ongoing Maya Train project. Captured on Tuesday, March 5th at 12:36 PM, the footage bears the project’s blatant violation of Mexican laws and a current suspension order, highlighting the severe impact on one of the region’s most fragile and pristine ecosystems.

Rojo’s impassioned plea, “This is today! In complete disregard of Mexican laws, this project is violently and severely affecting the most fragile and beautiful ecosystems we have!” underscores the urgency and gravity of the situation. The Maya Train project, which proceeds in defiance of legal constraints, is actively destroying Mexico’s most exquisite caves. Over 122 caves are being irreparably damaged by thousands of metal and concrete piles, shattering millennia-old structures, devastating underground life, and contaminating the aquifer vital for life in the region. While the video does not specify the location, it is inferred that the damage is being done in the controversial Section 5 South, stretching between Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

Environmental Alert Over Tulum's Caves

Amid growing concerns, Michel Duhart, a member of the “Sélvame del Tren” collective, has called for federal government intervention. Duhart argues that the new administration should hold those responsible for the Maya Train’s environmental and archaeological damages accountable. Highlighting the risks of desertification to the Yucatán Peninsula and its crucial aquifer, Duhart critiques the government’s tourism strategy, advocating for a focus on quality over quantity.

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The adverse effects of the Maya Train project extend beyond environmental damage. Duhart points to significant social consequences, including community displacement, the spread of organized crime, and unchecked real estate expansion. With 122 caverns, many of which contain archaeological remains, already affected, the project’s legacy may cause irreparable harm to Mexico’s cultural and natural heritage.

Environmental Alert Over Tulum's Caves

As Tulum and the broader region grapple with the implications of this controversial development, the outcry from activists like Rojo and Duhart emphasizes the need for a reevaluation of progress at the expense of environmental and cultural preservation. The Maya Train project, heralded as a boost for tourism and economic development, now stands as a stark reminder of the delicate balance between growth and guardianship of irreplaceable natural and historical treasures.


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