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Protesters outside the sewer and water utility Monday in Acapulco. Protesters outside the sewer and water utility Monday in Acapulco.

Tourist records discharge of sewage on Acapulco beach

Tourism service providers closed the local water authority in protest, and forced its boss to walk the beach

Polluted water can be seen spilling onto a beach in Acapulco, Guerrero, in a video taken by a tourist just before the summer vacation season goes into full swing.

The video uploaded to social media shows the sand at Icacos Beach darkening as it becomes increasingly contaminated due to a leaking drain pipe in the Plaza Canada business precinct.

The tourist used the video to alert state and federal environmental authorities and the navy of the damage, complaining that it wasn’t the first time, and wrote of the health dangers to tourists bathing in filthy water as well as the risks to marine life.

The dumping of sewage on the city’s beaches has been a recurrent problem, despite fines handed out to local businesses, hotels and condos, according to the news portal La Silla Rota.

Last April, sewage leaked onto Papagayo Beach, which the city’s water treatment authority (Capama) blamed on the failure of the drainage system a few blocks away due to heavy rain.

contaminated water
Contaminated water captured in a video taken in Acapulco.

Angered by the inaction of authorities, around 300 tourist service providers protested outside Capama’s office Monday, forcing it to close before making the organization’s head, Roberto Villalobos, walk along Manzanillo Beach to see the extent of the problem.

The protesters shouted “Clean beaches! Clean beaches!” and demanded that authorities stop the flow of sewage into the bay, and put 17 treatment plants into operation.

Villalobos agreed to put together a working group.

One of the protesters said the contamination would dissuade tourists. “They don’t resolve anything, we want a solution. Capama needs to do its job … People won’t put up with this scourge any longer; tourists are eating and there is excrement by their side,” he said.

The head of a water sports cooperative, Arturo Pantoja Guatemala, put the blame squarely on the city government. “We are prepared for the summer season. The truth is that we need it, after very difficult days in the pandemic. But now what worries us is the bad image that we have due to the nauseating smells that we have on all the beaches of Acapulco; it is a situation that has gotten out of hand with the municipal council,” he said.

He called on the council to fulfill its public duties by collecting waste, fixing public lighting and attending to the sewage leaks.

Meanwhile, in more bad news for the tourism industry, Acapulco could soon return from green to yellow on the coronavirus stoplight map due to a surge in Covid-19 infections, according to the news site Infobae.

With reports from Milenio, El Sol de Acapulco, La Silla Rota, La Jornada, Infobae and Enfoque Informativo

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