A wooden dock with several boats moored on either side under a clear blue sky with scattered clouds.

“Shocking: Only 2 out of 500 Isla Mujeres Ships Fight Sea Pollution!”

In Isla Mujeres, a popular tourist destination, only two out of nearly 500 yachts and sailboats that anchor each year are equipped with a wastewater treatment service. This information was confirmed by staff at Aguakan, the local water utility company. The rest of the vessels must venture more than 12 miles offshore to discharge their waste, despite increasing pressure to adapt their infrastructure to prevent pollution.

Only two marinas, Puerto Isla Mujeres and El Milagro, are equipped to receive wastewater discharges. The remaining twenty docks and over 70 piers, where ships often anchor for weeks or even months, lack this crucial facility. The Port Captaincy and local authorities have been urging those in the maritime industry to adapt their services, emphasizing the urgent need to prevent pollution from mass tourism.

International standards dictate that if wastewater has been treated, it can be discharged more than 3 miles from the coast. However, if it remains untreated, it must be dumped more than 12 miles away, under a regime approved by the administration and within a set discharge limit.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has issued measures to prevent pollution from ship wastewater in accordance with Annex IV of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). The document highlights that untreated water discharge into the sea can pose risks to human health and cause oxygen depletion. It also leads to visible pollution in coastal areas, posing a significant problem for countries that rely heavily on tourism.