Posted by: ecodestination | May 2, 2009

Sand extraction blocked at Cozumel. Next: La Ollita

beach erosion in MX

beach erosion in MX

Early last month, Mexican citizens marched in Cozumel demanding the plan to extract 7 million cubic meters of sand off the north coast of Cozumel’s beaches be cancelled.

The march was organized by the environmentalist NGO Sky, Land and Sea (Cielo, Tierra y Mar, or Citymar) in order to protest the extraction of sand. This extraction would cause severe problems to the local ecosystem, said Citymar President Guadalupe Alvarez Chulim.

Local and diverse species would be adversely affected if such a huge amount of sand were removed from the area because said species feed off plankton and sea grasses.

Alvarez Chulim expressed gladness when the municipal president took the NGO’s side. He said neither the will of Cozumel’s inhabitants nor their local environment would be trampled.

“When there is will, it is possible to avoid the implementation of pernicious projects,” Alvarez Chulim told El Quintanarroense.

Success: The Cozumel City Council decided to side with Citymar and local residents.

La Ollita

Another plan has been set up to replace the Cozumel sand-extraction plan: to extract sand from the fishing area at La Ollita instead. Locals oppose this plan as well, even though, supposedly (uh huh) it would cause less environmental damage. (Bullshit.)

Alderman Baltazar Gómez Catzin said that “it is understood that municipal authority supports the collective cause and it has shown it, this would not be the exception,” according to El Quintanarroense.

The issue now is getting enough people to stand up and take to the streets to protest the new project once it starts.

“I am willing to head the movement, but I won’t do it when I don’t have the direct support of several dozen people willing to take certain measures,” Gómez Catzin said, and noted that people are not used to taking these sorts of actions, although they have on numerous occasions in the last few years.

He said the harm done to the area of extraction would be irreversible, even though official information is being hidden. (Wow. Ok—not really a surprise.)

“The authorities are hiding information, but we have seen the effects, regardless of the fact that a good amount of the millions of cubic meters of sand extracted years ago ended up in the bay, affecting the corals,” he added.

The beaches that have suffered sand extractions are still notably damaged by them.

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