Although Mexico is home to between 60 and 70 percent of the environmental diversity known on the planet, it is also the country with the most endangered species.
And little investment exists to recover its natural capital, said a group of UNAM academics from the Institute of Economic Research.
During the XXV Mexican Economy Seminar, Citlalin Martínez, a researcher at the institute’s economics and environment research unit, pointed out that in 2012 the economic cost of environmental degradation totaled 985 billion pesos, while its protection was budgeted at 143 billion.
“In 2017 the cost for depletion and degradation of the environment represented 4.3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, while for its protection only 0.6 percent was allocated,” she said.
She also said that between 90 and 95 percent of Mexican territory has been deforested, placing the nation third in the world for deforestation. The forests and jungles are the most affected.
Martínez and her colleagues Rosario Pérez, Alonso Aguilar and Veronique Shopie Ávila published these grim statistics in the white paper, “The Role of Natural Capital in the Mexican Economy.”
“The main cause of deforestation is changing land use for agriculture,” said Martínez. “The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection estimates that only 8 percent of logging is illegal, so the rest is done with the permission from the authorities.”
She commented that increased population has affect waste generation, pollution emissions and wastewater discharge.
Eleven states in Mexico have already exhausted their capacity to generate goods and services without putting its natural resources at risk, she said.