Yucatan Peninsula wetlands reduced by half

February 8th was International Wetlands Day, but it was not a celebration to be had in the state of Quintana Roo where more than half of the wetlands have been destroyed.

Citizen Program Coordinator Ecologist, Laura Patiño, said celebrations were not held in Playa del Carmen due to the severe loss of mangrove areas throughout the Riviera Maya.

She said that to date, more than half of the original wetland ecosystem in northern Quintana Roo has disappeared and is causing many negative environmental effects such as erosion of beaches and a loss of species that breed in the local mangroves.

Patiño also noted that one of the main functions of the wetlands is to act as a natural water filtration system, which is what continues to keep the extensive underground river system of the Yucatan Peninsula healthy. Although she warns that for the state “to continue this devastating trend, the effects can be very dangerous.”

In December, Gongora Mauricio Escalante, Mayor of Solidarity announced planned tourism developments in excess of $3 billion along the Riviera Maya. Last month, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources gave the green light to begin construction on a new bridge to connect the Hotel Zone with Cancun mainland. The bridge placement is over the eco-sensitive Nichupte Lagoon.