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Young deputy protests Yucatán’s concrete jungle

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Enrique Febles Bauzá is a Green Party member of the Yucatan Congress. Photo: Courtesy

Mérida, Yucatán — Following a protest at a city park that sacrificed green grass for concrete, a young Green party member has gotten full support for a resolution urging municipalities to change their ways. 

The state Congress unanimously approved a resolution urging the state’s 106 municipalities and the executive branch to plant trees and protect green areas in public spaces while curbing the use of concrete slabs.

The measure was offered by Enrique Febles Bauzá, 30, deputy of the Ecologist Green Party. It was endorsed by the dominant PAN and PRI parties when put to a vote.

The main objective of the measure is to encourage the conservation of the green and wooded areas across the state.

A petition protests the addition of more concrete at a Mérida park.

Febles Bauzá indicated that for the LXI Legislature the environment is a priority. The more authorities are involved in eco-friendly policies, the better.

The document urges all the 106 municipalities to approach the institutions to conserve the trees, leave a healthy environment to improve the quality of life of the Yucatecan families,” he added.

Febles Bauzá has initiated a petition (for citizens to sign, not necessarily expats) that protests what he sees as the overuse of concrete at Parque de Kalia, a Mérida play space in his neighborhood. The city launched a 4 million peso renovation that replaces large portions of grass with concrete. The petition, which supplements a recent demonstration of about 50 neighbors, already has over 1,500 signers.

Municipalities are obliged to attend to their own parks and gardens, but concrete is too often abundant in public areas. The use of concrete has been connected to rising temperatures that plague the peninsula this time of year.

Seasonally hot weather has been a burden.

A massive power failure earlier this week resulted when the electrical grid was overwhelmed during peak air conditioning hours. And water consumption goes way up during the heat. 

During the hottest months, average daily water consumption per citizen increased by 94 percent, from 180 to 350 liters, said Manuel Carrillo Esquivel, director general of the Yucatán Water and Sewage Board (Japay)

In an interview with Milenio Novedades, the state official said that the increase is due to people intensifying irrigation practices to cool their homes or shops, and to fill their pools.

Manuel Carrillo said that in the city, the state maintains four water treatment plants and 100 capture systems in strategic points of Mérida, which he says is sufficient to meet the demand for drinking water. An additional plant is not being planned.

Diario de Yucatán conducted an informal survey that concluded that most people feel that the city is hotter than it used to be.

The interviewees generally agreed that said that the authorities should rethink their parks strategy, conserve green spaces and stop pouring concrete.

New neighborhoods should have green areas built into their plans, and trees should be maintained so they thrive.

A recent heat wave was the most intense since 2003, with temperates surpassing the 40C/104F degree mark, the newspaper reported.

“There’s more heat, now it’s unbearable at all hours and all seasons of the year,” said Abigail Balam. 

“Legislation should be made to ban and punish tree felling, and to establish that housing areas have a number of green areas in proportion to the size of the fractionation and the number of inhabitants in the area, in a mandatory manner,” she said.

José Celis, a salesman, said that the heat is due to a combination of global warming and constant new construction.

“The authorities have made (zones) of pure pavement,” he said.

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