Costa Maya Newsletter > Archived Newsletters > Sept. 18th 2004

Newsletters: of primary interest to property owners on the Costa Maya, - Rio Indio - Placer - Uvero - Punta Herrera - Xcalak and other points along the coast

***********************Newsletter: Sept. 18th, 2004**************************

Hi neighbors, This is a non-scheduled newsletter to let you know about the follow-up meeting that occurred last week.  The normal time-frame for newsletters will occur at the beginning of each month unless there is something newsworthy happening -- like the ongoing meetings that are occurring weekly and hurricane Ivan. 

Cool web site link! If you haven't checked this out -- please do.  Its a link to an aerial tour of Mahahual - Punta Herrera from, which by the way is a good resource for those wanting some information about living here in Mexico.  Granted the aerial maps have way too many shots of Mahahual and some big gaps, but its fun to see anyway.  I've started with a view of the portion of beach that shows El Placer and Mayan Beach Garden.

Independence day -- Sept 16th: Independence day happened, but the celebrations at El Placer del Caribe were canceled due to hurricane Ivan. Tom Steddum's place was unhurt except for some beach erosion. 

News of Ivan's effects on the Costa Maya: We have satellite internet service here at Mayan Beach Garden so we all watched Ivan come dangerously close to us. Luckily is stayed far enough away that we only got a little beach erosion and lost a few trees.  The worst was the debris that was left behind.  Those of you who do not have caretakers looking after your property may find extra garbage left behind. For about 4 days afterwards the water was high and continued to bring in loads of garbage in the form of plastic.  Conditions here consisted of continuous surges that ranged from 7-10 feet.  We also had some breaking waves.  Entire logs were thrown up on the beach by the waves in some places a good 20 feet past the federal zone.  To my knowledge there was no damage to any permanent structures or homes.  We had only a little rain and no wind to speak of, so the beach road from Rio-Indio to Placer is still in good condition with no erosion or debris in the road. 

Mahahual had some beach erosion as well,  and the water came up higher than the road and into the homes and businesses across the street bringing with it a lot of garbage and turtle grass, but they quickly cleaned up and Wednesday they had cruise ships in town. 

Elsewhere, Punta Herrera was evacuated due to high water.  The water completely covered the sand spit, are now returning home and they too are cleaning up the garbage.  The hotel zone in Cancun was evacuated and we had guests who came a couple of days earlier in order to find a place to stay. I heard today from the web site owner of that Tulum had some serious beach erosion with part of the beach road being washed away.  Akumal was less affected and Playa del Carmen had some fairly serious beach erosion. The Quintana Roo newspaper had pictures of Cozumel with waste high water in the streets.  I wasn't sure if it was from rain or waves.  There were also pictures of tremendous waves crashing into a wall in Cancun.  

Meeting with Mahahual officials Tuesday 9/7/04

Attendees: Mayor, officials from the Sian Ka'an, university of Quintana Roo , department of waste - representing the civil association of the Sian Ka'an.

Translation supplied by Miguel Sosa

The meeting was more about garbage since the officials from the electric company didn't show up.  The meeting didn't really shed any more light on the garbage problem than the previous meeting. Never the less, I've included an abridged version of the minutes of the meeting for your reading pleasure.  

NOTES: The problem is that the current waste disposal system was created in 2001 and 2002 when there was no cruise ship, but now they are receiving a lot of garbage, garbage that is different than normal home garbage.   Obviously t he trash has increased drastically and is expected to triple in the next year. The government has concluded that they have to work with some experts in Japan to create programs to deal with the wastes. Programs have been developed for Mahahual, Playa del Carmen and Cancun . It is too difficult to control the garbage in Cancun , but they want to start something here in Mahahual while it is developing. In March, using the municipal delegation, they organized restaurants and small hotels who have been starting to separate the garbage. They are concentrating on the cruise ship garbage. They are testing compost boxes, but the amount of compost is far more than the boxes can generate, so they are using some land at the high school for composting.

The following items can be recycled: plastic bottles, glass, cardboard and aluminum cans.  Already they can see a reduction in  the impact of the garbage by recycling. The owner of the pier is working with them to solve this task.   The beach at Ubero where the buses take the passengers is also recycling. The municipality has purchased bins and plastic bags to separate the garbage. They will collect those in an area of the pier and it will be collected.

Some campaigns have begun to clean the beach.   Elsewhere t hey have begun circulating posters. They want to do the same here. The goal is to locate some large bins where they can separate the waste. In Mahahual, they raised some money among the restaurant owners, purchased garbage bins and a bicycle and the garbage was collected. Currently they are installing bins on the  South side of Mahahual.  If we want to do something similar, we will need to establish some rules in order to deal with the waste, not to mention a place to put the bins. 

First, they will teach us to create composting boxes to get rid of waste. They said they have educational material, but didn't have it with them at the meeting, nor do they have access to a copy machine. They promised to bring at least one copy at the nest meeting, otherwise we need to o to Chetumal and pick up copies and then make the copies ourselves. [note: It is very common for government offices not to have a copy machine.]   For home owners they have some composting boxes that can be purchased  for 600 pesos. 50x50x80 mm (2'x2'x3 tall) you can purchase this from the "Amigos of the Sian Ka'an" located in Chetumal. They also have posters that describe instructions (recipe) for composting and other information. 

The question was again brought up:  What do we do with the items that they don't want us to burn, are not recyclable and there is no room for them in the landfill? They will teach us what to do with this material at the next meeting.  (two meetings and we have still not heard a solution for this) The only answer we received was that they have to decide among ourselves what to do with things like pampers or other garbage that cannot be recycled. They are going to ask the municipal authorities to solve this type of garbage.

They again reiterated that we cannot continue to burn the garbage on the beach. Composting will be a good quality of black soil for your gardens, will reduce the burning. I think everyone was in agreement that we need to reduce burning.

By  april of next year, we must have a project working to solve the garbage problem. The Mayor of Chetumal wants to plant the seed of cooperation - from Mahahual-Ubero. They are pushing all the area to establish goals so that everyone will know what the requirements are.   They want all of us to integrate with Mahahual. However, they don't want us to leave all your problems to the government. We have to help.   We were asked to c come up with a task force to deal with the trash. A follow-up meeting will be called to  draft a set of bylaws and guidelines as to what the committee will do. This covers the area from Rio-Indio to Ubero. This will have the same rules as are in Mahahual. Committee members are Tom from El Placer del Caribe, Marcia from Mayan Beach Garden (although I'm not sure what we all volunteered for yet) and Amanda from Paradise Lodge. The next time, they will tell us exactly what we are supposed to do. So far we still don't know.

The last time they did a census of the area north to Ubero was in 1998, but they need to upgrade their records so they know how many people they are talking about regarding garbage.

We also found out that there are 18 km that are "protected," but we don't know exactly where that is and what the protection means.  Hopefully we will find that out at the next meeting which had been scheduled for Sept 14th, but was cancelled due to Hurricane Ivan.  Another meeting is yet to be rescheduled. 

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