Raw sewage is once again flooding the streets of the Quintana Roo tourist destination Isla Holbox.
Since last year, the small island located off the state’s north coast has been plagued with wastewater overflows from a sewage system that can no longer cope with the pressures placed on it.
In an interview with the newspaper El Universal, the mayor of Lázaro Cárdenas — the municipality to which Holbox belongs — laid the blame squarely at the feet of the state government’s Water and Sewer Commission (Capa), which he says still hasn’t repaired the island’s sewage treatment plant or drainage infrastructure.
“There are critical points in different parts of the island where there is not only urine but also . . . solids,” Emilio Jiménez Ancona said, adding that he was speaking out because of the state government’s inaction.
“. . . Capa doesn’t respond. The critical points aren’t at the beach, they’re in the town, near schools and the jetty,” the mayor explained.
Jiménez said that 60 million pesos (almost US $3.2 million) has been allocated for the required repairs but Capa has failed to keep to the schedule it announced.
“The work was supposed to be finished in December, January at the latest . . .” he said.
In light of the delays, Jiménez also questioned where the money allocated to the project has really gone.
“I don’t know what has happened with the more than 60 million pesos that arrived for this work, because to tell you the truth, there’s no progress. We’re already in February and I don’t think that it will be finished for Holy Week, which is high season,” he said.
The mayor also directed a message to Quintana Roo Governor Carlos Joaquín González.
“I think it’s important for the governor to know that things aren’t always as they are made out to be . . . .” suggesting that Joaquín was not hearing the full story.
“I go there [Isla Holbox] every week and that’s the way things are,” he said.
In July last year Jiménez explained that up to 6,000 people were using a sewer system that was built 18 years ago when the island population was just 800.
Isla Holbox Mayor René Correa Moguel also told El Universal that the problem isn’t new and explained that local authorities couldn’t fix it on their own because the island’s limited budget is already stretched to provide other essential services.
Jiménez said he was aware that drawing added attention to the problem may affect the island’s reputation as a tourist destination, but remained unrepentant.
“The smells can’t be hidden,” he declared.
“What we have to understand here is that . . . this is already a health problem for the local population, and when tourists leave the first observation they leave in the complaint box is just that.”
Source: El Universal (sp)