Residents in Progreso and other communities on Yucatán’s northern coast are complaining of illegal garbage dumps.
The dumps which have grown slowly over time are full of discarded construction materials, as well as organic waste and other items such as tires and plastic waste.
“They are not only an eyesore, but they are also outright dangerous and a breeding ground for rats and mosquitoes carrying dangerous diseases including zika,” said Chelem local Juan Escobedo.
Progreso’s municipal government says that it has already begun to address the problem by extracting nearly 20 tons of waste.
“We are working hard to solve this problem, which at the end of the day is a health hazard,” said Progreso’s Mayor Zacarías Curi.
Authorities are encouraging local businesses and residents to stop illegally dumping their garbage at these clandestine dumps, as they create problems for everyone in the community.
Recently, Progreso’s city government has installed special recycling bins for materials such as PVC plastics, glass, and other types of garbage that can be recycled.
“Gingers Jungle Rescue Restaurant challenges all other Progreso restaurants and I personally challenge you expats to start recycling and delivering your waste to our new recycling centers,” said Tracy Ginger, a business owner and animal rights activist from Edmonton on her Facebook page.
Unauthorized garbage dumps have become a serious problem in many communities on the Yucatán Peninsula.
The problem is particularly severe in the Caribbean Island of Holbox. The tourism industry in Holbox generates up to 10 tons of garbage a day. Since recycling the waste is so expensive, much of it ends up in the ocean, dumped illegally, or buried underneath the sand.
“Of course tourism is important, but all of this garbage is destroying our homes. We have to find a way to keep the industry alive without all of this destruction,” says Holbox resident Paulina Urbina.
Some residents have suggested introducing a total ban on plastics and polystyrene on the island.