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Federal help asked to stop construction in protected mangrove zone

At least 10 houses border wetlands

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Federal authorities have been called in to stop illegal housing in Chicxulub. Photo: El Financiero

Progreso — Illegal construction in Chicxulub Puerto’s mangrove areas has the mayor asking for federal assistance to stop it.

In an interview with El Financiero, city environmental official Jorge Enrique Aménica said Profepa has called in to intervene. The federal environmental agency was called in when local authorities were pelted with stones.

The story has made national headlines, appearing in at least one newspaper in Mexico City.

Mangroves are natural protected ecosystems. Their forests contain up to three times more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than tropical forests.

They are considered areas of feeding, shelter and growth of crustaceans. They act as natural flood control systems and as barriers against hurricanes and saline intrusion, controlling erosion and protecting coasts.

The city did not issue permits to fill in the swamp or knock over the trees, said Aménica.

In 2010, the government of Yucatán decreed the state reserve Ciénagas and Manglares of the North Coast as a protected natural area. The document states that it must be guaranteed that the use of land “is compatible with the conservation of the natural resources it harbors, avoiding the fragmentation of the landscape and the loss of habitats.”

On a tour of the area, El Financiero observed the presence of numerous houses on the margin of the ​​Chicxulub mangrove area on both sides of the road that leads to the port.

At least 10 houses were on the edge of the wetlands, some of them made of cardboard sheets, while others already had cement foundations and rebar.

One of the neighbors of the area said workers used dump trucks to fill swampland with rubble to build on.

Jorge Herrera, a veteran researcher at Cinvestav Mérida, said it will be very expensive to restore the marshland.

Source: El Financiero

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