Water quality testing of 270 beaches around the country found that five did not meet World Health Organization (WHO) safety guidelines, while the rest were safe for use according to the Federal Commission for Protection Against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris).
The study analyzed more than 2,000 water samples from popular tourist destinations in the country’s 17 coastal states. It found that Bahía de Banderas in Nayarit and Hornos, Tlacopanocha and Suave beaches in Acapulco were unsafe for recreational use based on high levels of enterococci bacteria, which indicates the presence of fecal matter in the water.
The fifth beach, Playa Hermosa in Ensenada, Baja California, failed because state and municipal authorities said the beach was the site of constant wastewater discharges.
According to WHO guidelines, coastal bodies of water must have 200 or less enterococci bacteria per 100 milliliters to be considered safe for recreational use. In Acapulco, Playa Hornos and Playa Tlacopanocha had more than double the safe level of bacteria. At Playa Suave, bacteria levels were almost 10 times the limit.
It is not the first time Acapulco beaches have failed water quality testing. In 2019 three of the city’s beaches, including Playa Suave, tested positive for unsafe levels of bacteria. Ensenada’s Playa Hermosa has also been on the unsafe list before.
High levels of enterococci bacteria can cause urinary tract infections, meningitis and other health problems. And because enterococci mean that feces is present in the water, they are often accompanied by more disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
Mexico still leads the Americas in numbers of environmentally-certified Blue Flag locations, with 62 beaches sporting the distinction.
Water testing results for each beach, organized by state, are available on the Cofepris website.
Mexico News Daily