April 6, 2024
Today´s Paper

The Hidden Costs of Tulum’s Paradise

TULUM, México – Amidst the lush landscapes and burgeoning developments that have made Tulum a sought-after destination, a concerning trend of illegal construction practices threatens this vibrant community’s environmental and social fabric. Gerardo Gómez Nieto, director of Sylvatica Consultores, a consultancy with a distinguished track record in Quintana Roo, sheds light on the rampant disregard for proper zoning and environmental impact assessments by developers in Tulum.

Most real estate developments in Tulum bypass national regulations, obtaining only municipal permits without the mandatory land use changes or environmental impact statements (MIA), federal or state. This oversight contributes to mounting challenges in sewage, solid waste management, and potable water supply, exacerbated by the area’s rapid growth. Gómez Nieto warns of a looming crisis as a city’s lack of essential services becomes increasingly grave.

The Hidden Costs of Tulum's Paradise

The problem, according to Gómez Nieto, stems from prioritizing development through municipal license fees, sidelining the integral solutions needed to address Tulum’s environmental and infrastructural deficiencies. He advocates for a comprehensive approach, including significant investment in waste management strategies like plasma plants, which could eliminate the need for landfills, notorious for their property disputes, pollution, and inefficiencies.

Yet, Tulum’s failure to complete its Territorial Ecological Ordering Plan, especially glaring during a pandemic construction boom of three thousand apartments, indicates a broader issue of unregulated growth. This pattern is not unique to Tulum but is also evident in Mahahual and Bacalar, highlighting a social problem that demands solid mechanisms and efficient law enforcement.

The Hidden Costs of Tulum's Paradise

For Tulum, the path forward involves addressing these immediate challenges and envisioning a sustainable future where waste management contributes positively to the community, generating hot water and electricity, among other benefits. The investment and commitment to doing things right, Gómez Nieto argues, are crucial for Tulum to develop sustainably, echoing practices seen in other countries where recycling and sustainable waste disposal enhance the quality of life.

As Tulum stands at a crossroads, the need for a rigorous application of laws and a collective effort towards a sustainable development model has never been more urgent. The community, developers, and authorities must come together to forge a future that preserves Tulum’s unique beauty and ecosystem, ensuring it remains a paradise not just for today’s residents and visitors but for generations to come.


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