Environmental activists on the island of Cozumel are protesting the construction of a new dock which they say would irreparably harm the island’s delicate ecosystem.
The protestors have already been granted a temporary injunction against the construction of the dock, but warn that the battle is far from over.
“Besides being a terrible idea environmentally, this project is completely unnecessary. Cozumel already has three enormous cruise docks and they are seldom working at 100% anyway,” said local activist Claudia Cifuentes.
The activists also note that the location chosen for the new dock lay on the only readily accessible beach for locals in the area. The others are already blocked off by hotels, restaurants, and other tourism infrastructure.
“Tourism is important, but this is our island too, we reserve the right to have a say in what happens to our home,” said a Cozumel local, Miguel Tun.
The proposed dock would cover an area of 360 acres and run in an “L” shape 220 feet into the Caribbean Sea.
The waters surrounding Cozumel are made up of a diverse ecosystem of coral reefs that is home to more than 1,000 marine species.
Cozumel is a part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System which is the second-largest reef in the world, stretching over 620 miles.
The island is also home to several endangered species such as the loggerhead sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, queen triggerfish, and the endemic splendid toadfish.
Due to abundant marine life and coral reefs and the clear, warm Caribbean water, Cozumel is considered one of the world’s best scuba diving destinations.