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Residents go to court to protect Cenote Zone from pig farm

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Members of Ka’anan Ts’onot count votes among citizens who overwhelmingly opposed the pig farm. The votes carry no weight legally. Photo: Facebook

Homún, Yucatán — An environmental group has denounced Seduma, the state secretary of urban development, for favoring a mega pig farm in the Cenote Zone.

Waste from the farm, designed to house 45,000 pigs, will threaten the underground water system of the region, residents fear.

The farm, which is under construction, would also offend tourists passing by, say members of Ka’anan Ts’onot, or Guardians of the Cenotes.

“Tourism with pigs is not compatible,” said José May Echeverría, a member of the organization.

A civil organization has formed to protest construction of a massive pig farm in the Cenote Zone. Photo: Punto Medio

Seduma’s environmental impact statement was not signed by appropriate specialists, said protestors.

In an amparo lawsuit filed in the Second District Court, Ka’anan Ts’onot members accuse the state agency of negligence and omission for granting the pig farm authorization without gathering scientific information available, and of not presenting information that was truthful, reliable and realistic.

The sloppy environmental impact statement only makes opponents of the pig farm skeptical that Seduma would regulate a pig farm properly, said a member of the group, which was formed to oppose the development.

Residents voted 332-30 against a pig farm in the Cenote Zone, but ballots were unofficial. Photo: Facebook

“If this was signed without review, imagine what they are going to do if they open the farm,” he told Punto Medio.

Seduma promises that the farm will employ “state-of-the-art technology” despite the fact that the Environmental Impact Statement deficient and exhibits weaknesses, deficiencies and irregularities, protestors said.

In the application before Seduma, under the Wastewater Treatment Plant category, the infrastructure described shows technical deficiencies and lack of information, according to the law suit. The document that specifies the characteristics of the plant is also unsigned, they say.

“To defend our rights as a Mayan people and protect our waters and our territory from the pollution that would generate a mega pig farm, inhabitants of Homún have become guardians of the cenotes,” the civil oganization announced at a press conference earlier in the battle.

“We will do what the government has not done: inform, consult the people and stop the contamination,” they warned. “Enough of damaging our natural reserves!”

“We are surprised that the authorities have given authorizations without consulting us, and even more so when Homún is in the geo-hydrological reserve Anillo de los Cenotes, in accordance with decree 117 of the government of the state of Yucatán,” they said at a press conference in late September.

They then stressed that as a Mayan people they have the right to decide what happens on their territory.

Homún is one of the 53 municipalities within the Cenotes Ring that was declared as a natural area protected by the state government in Decree 117 published in the Official Gazette of the State on Oct. 28, 2013.

In addition, the land is part of the Yalahau Lagunas State Park protected natural area.

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