An erosion control geotextile tube lying along the sandy shore with waves lapping at the beach.

Controversial Geotextile Installation Causes Stir in Playa del Carmen

Water service providers in Playa del Carmen are on high alert due to the introduction of geotextiles in the area. Over the past weekend, there have been reports of significant erosion on the beaches close to where these geotextiles have been placed.

The geotextiles, authorized by the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), were positioned in front of the Hyatt hotel. This has caused concern among water service providers, who predict that erosion will increase as a result.

José Gómez Burgos, secretary of the Caribbean Sea tourist cooperative, stated that they were only informed about the installation of artificial reefs, not geotextiles on the beach. The beach in question is approximately 500 meters from their docking area.

Burgos expressed surprise, saying, "A notice was issued about this project last year, stating they were going to make an artificial barrier. They never mentioned they were going to place geotextiles on the beach. I imagine it will erode over time."

The newly installed structures are located on a coastal stretch in front of the aforementioned hotel, between Constituyentes Avenue and Calle 28. These structures include geotextiles on the sand and seaward, about 100 meters from the coast. They are part of a beach recovery project undertaken by the Hyatt hotel, with permission applications submitted in January 2022 and authorized by Semarnat in September of the same year.

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However, the beach continues to erode. Burgos noted, "The shore current is very strong and a more comprehensive project is required. This is more like an isolated action, there won't be further changes because all the other agents who intervene are going about their daily activity."

The authorization of this environmental impact project was controversial. The environmental organization Moce Yax Cuxtal pointed out that the project was mistakenly published in the ecological gazette as being located in Cozumel, not in Solidaridad. This error went unnoticed by environmentalists, who were unable to challenge the project in a timely manner.

Environmentalists are now calling for a comprehensive beach recovery project that covers the entire coast of Playa del Carmen, not just one specific area.