Mexico is commonly associated with their poor water quality and the complications due to these problems, but according to recent studies, one of the most serious problems is in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Researchers have found products such as pharmaceuticals, shampoo, illicit drugs, toothpaste, pesticides, chemical run-off, and other pollutants that are infiltrating the giant aquifer under the Riviera Maya.
The pollutants occupy a series of water-filled caves near the popular tourist attraction of the Yucatan Peninsula and eventually run off into the Caribbean Sea (ScienceDaily, “Pollutants in Aquifers May Threaten Future of Mexico’s Fast-growing ‘Riviera Maya’. ”). The problems and effects of these problems may become detrimental and the causes of the pollution are numerous. The researchers concluded that four of the five locations contained pollution that originated from domestic sewage, pinpointing septic tanks and leaking sewer lines as the major causes.
Another source of the pollution comes from the groundwater runoff of chemicals from highways, parking lots, and other hard surfaces Maya (ScienceDaily, “Pollutants in Aquifers May Threaten Future of Mexico’s Fast-growing ‘Riviera Maya’. ”). Mexico struggles to protect their nation’s pollution levels, which can also be consider a cause of the pollution, as they lack the equipment and expertise to monitor and track sources of pollution.
The effects of the current situation surrounding the Riviera Maya are not an immediate danger, but as there is a projection of a ten-fold population increase by 2030, the problems are likely to worsen. Mexican citizens are presently sick with stomach problems, abdominal pain, weight loss, and in the most severe cases, death (Gutierrez, “Water Polluted beyond Drinkability. ”). As the pollutants run through the aquifers, they end up off the coast of Mexico.
The pollution has contributed to destroying the environment, where up to fifty percent of the region’s coral reefs have been destroyed since 1990 and it is believed that land pollution played a large role along with the effects of overfishing, destroying habitats that are home to millions of organisms. In the medium to long range future of the Mexican society, the government must begin to control the aquifer pollution problem or be forced to handle to disastrous consequences.
The Mexican government is thinking ahead to avoid the possible effects from this pollution and have thought of many solutions to slow or stop the pollution of the Riviera Maya. There is currently a reverse osmosis system in the Riviera Maya, but the technology cannot protect from all of the contaminants. One of their recommendations is to install impermeable liners underneath large areas such as golf courses to contain the leaking contaminants and treatment systems, drainage canals, and retention ponds to collect the contaminants after they are stopped by the liners.
The government has also suggested a method of protecting against chemical run-off from hard surfaces such as highways by means of something like a drainage system. Mexico must create laws and a regulating committee to stop the industrial waste products that are released into areas around the Riviera Maya (ScienceDaily, “Pollutants in Aquifers May Threaten Future of Mexico’s Fast-growing ‘Riviera Maya’. ”). All of these steps must be taken by the Mexican government to avoid the potential effects of the water pollution on both the citizens and the environment of Mexico.