MEXICO CITY – Environmental watchdog Greenpeace accuses the Mexican government of promoting “speculation and the destruction of ecosystems” in the country, and of promoting a “policy of tourism completely incompatible with protection of the environment.”
“Authorities of different government agencies are dedicated to approving projects that do not comply with environmental regulations and criteria, they exhaust the resources of fragile areas and, far from making communities wealthier, what they do is impoverish them with their contamination, putting pressure on aquifers and creating a demand for short-term services and economies,” Greenpeace said in a communique.
Two days before celebrating World Environment Day, the organization denounced the situation of four projects in the states of Sinaloa, Baja California Sur and Nayarit.
One of the projects is located in Escuinapa, in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, and – according to the NGO – is damaging the marshes in the area, “the most important system of wetlands on Mexico’s Pacific coast.”
Another is the development of Cabo Cortes in the northwestern state of Baja California Sur, which “puts at high risk the sustainability of Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, which features the Gulf of California’s most important coral reef.
The Spanish tourism company Hansa Urbana was awarded a permit for the Cancun-style project, a massive, 27,000-room tourist development that environmentalists say would damage this semidesert zone of Mexico.
At La Paz Bay, also in the state of Baja California Sur, Greenpeace considers that the Paraiso del Mar development is going ahead “without authorization that considers its environmental impact” and is affecting a number of species including the whale shark and the bottlenose dolphin.
The NGO also says that this project violates regulations for protecting mangroves.
Finally, in Litibu in the western state of Nayarit, a project was launched in 2005 to build 4,100 guestrooms for “exclusive, high-end tourism.”
“They promised 15,000 jobs and that by the year 2025 there would be some 720,000 visitors and a private tourism investment of $1.1 billion, all with little environmental impact. None of that is happening,” the NGO said.
Despite their high ecological impact, the four projects cited were approved and have not been canceled by President Felipe Calderon’s administration, though they are seen by the environmental organization as the “most relevant” in terms of “predatory tourism,” Greenpeace said.