Construction of the new marina by Grupo Xcaret has begun despite the project still under evaluation by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources to determine its environmental impact.
PLAYA DEL CARMEN – In August 2019, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) the project known as “Sol de Selva”, but due the COVID-19 pandemic, work did not begin until recently. This has triggered reactions from environmentalists.
Melina Soto, Coordinator in Mexico of Healthy Reefs (Arrecifes Saludables), warned about the dredging carried out by Grupo Xcaret to build its new marina since the sediment stirred up would negatively impact the reef system and specifically the delicate corals where scientists are working to reverse the “white syndrome disease” that plagues the reef of the Riviera Maya.
Although she admitted that she is unfamiliar with the specific project, in general, she did make it clear that the main threat with these types of work projects is the suffocation of the corals.
The scope of the project includes the construction of a large breakwater dike with two arms. The first section will have a length of 65 meters and the second 190 meters. The structures will be made up of a core layer of rocks, a layer of prefabricated smooth cubes, and the third and final layer will be of grooved blocks.
The breakwaters will be oriented from south to southwest and will occupy an area of 5,843.09 square meters.
There will be a retaining wall built on the perimeter, and a walkway for visitors at the crown of the breakwaters.
The basin of the marina will be dredged to the level of -3 NBM (Middle Low Tide Level) to connect it with the external waters of the sea. There will be a system of floating docks planned to accommodate 15 boats. There will be two concrete stairs for entry, bollards, and fenders, which will be located on the perimeter, with a floating area.
The specialist trusts that they will have people on sight, monitoring the work and checking that it has a sediment barrier.
“The truth is that I am not aware but we would have to be very diligent,” Soto explained.
She further stressed that the problem of the “white syndrome”, one of the main diseases impacting our corals at this time, continues to affect the reefs and care should be taken not to spread sediments and cause the disease to progress.
She explained that this disease began in Florida, in the United States after the dredging of the Port of Miami.
“You have to be very careful of the procedures in these works,” said Soto.
“Any construction, any alteration that you make to an ecosystem, will have an affect one way or another.” said Ramon Magaña, renowned Riviera Maya diving instructor.
Regarding the new Xcaret marina he said no matter how ecological a company says it is, boats will come and go at all hours.
“At the end of the day, there will be fuel spillage and there will be a negative impact,” Magaña lamented.
He pointed out that in the area where this development is being done, being rocky, offers a protected creation area (reproduction of species) which is relatively inaccessible.
“But if it is no longer inaccessible, there will be a negative affect on the ecosystem. The damage is imminent, these are coral ecosystems that take years to grow and recover and the impact is there. Hopefully, parameters, rules and laws will be followed so that it is minimal,” he said.
Source: Por Esto