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Toxic Landfill Leaks Poison into Tourist Lagoon

There is a potential public health crisis brewing on the border of Isla Mujeres and Benito Juarez. According to Jesus Cahum Mex, a representative of the Chacmuchuch Lagoon System Community Guardians Committee, the local water bodies are contaminated with heavy metals. Alarmingly, fish from these waters are being caught and served in local restaurants.

Cahum Mex explains that an old landfill site near Chacmuchuch Lagoon and the Manatí River is leaking landfill liquids into the water, contaminating the fish. The committee has been reporting this issue to the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa) and the Quintana Roo Environmental Attorney's Office (PPA) for eight years, but have only achieved minor results.

Cahum Mex criticizes the Isla Mujeres City Council for not addressing the environmental sanitation issue on the mainland. In contrast, the Benito Juarez municipality has been supportive, providing garbage trucks and collaborating with the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (Conanp).

The environmentalists are raising alarm because fish from the contaminated area are being sold in the North Arc. They are urging the authorities at all levels of government to address this issue proactively, to prevent potential health problems in the population. This is especially crucial given the risk of groundwater pollution, as the local soil is karstic and runoff can contaminate the underground water supply.

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As community guardians, their jurisdiction extends from the entrance of the North Arc to the landfill managed by the Tribasa company. This landfill has been abandoned and the problem of landfill liquid leakage has worsened.

In the coming days, they plan to file new complaints about the severe pollution in the area. They are particularly concerned about people dumping items such as mattresses, rubble, tires, and other waste into what is designated as a Protected Natural Area (ANP).