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Puerto Morelos, Isla Mujeres and Cancun could have own landfills in coming months

Riviera Maya, Q.R. — After the partial closure of the Cancun landfill, the Ministry of the Environment (Sema) says other municipalities who also use it will have their own.

Sema head Josefina Huguette Hernández says Puerto Morelos is one that will likely have its own landfill in the near future. Puerto Morelos is one of three municipalities that shares the landfill of Cancun, which is located on the Isla Mujeres mainland.

Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Puerto Morelos all use the same garbage dump, which was partially shut last month after allegations of waste mismanagement. Inspectors from the Environmental Protection Agency (PPA) temporarily closed a section of the Cancun sanitary landfill in mid-July after they reviewed, in person, the waste mismanagement allegations.

With only a portion of the landfill open, all three municipalities continue to use the dump. Huguette Hernández says Puerto Morelos would benefit the most by having their own landfill by not having to spend large amounts of money to transport their municipal garbage to the other side of Cancun.

Isla Mujeres is also on the list for having their own sanitary landfill. Isla Mujeres has a holding area (open dump) on the island that is used to store garbage that is transferred to the Cancun landfill by ferry, usually during the night.

However, the island of Isla Mujeres only accounts for 10 percent of the municipality. The remaining 90 percent of the municipality of Isla Mujeres is on the mainland or Continental Zone above Cancun and also shares the Cancun (Benito Juarez) dump, which is on Isla Mujeres land.

While Cancun sorts out their own landfill issues, the other two municipalities are being integrated into the Program of Ecological and Urban Planning that could see them have their own landfill space in coming months.

Huguette Hernández says the program will help the municipalities define appropriate sites for the placement of solid waste and thus, avoid situations like the one Cancun is currently dealing with.

She says Sema is supervising that the companies in charge of garbage management in other municipalities are operating correctly.

On Thursday, Cancun City Hall launched a public bid for a new garbage collection company and landfill site. Cancun Mayor Ana Paty Peralta said the move came after Promotora Inmobiliaria Majahual SA (Pimsa), the company accused of waste mismanagement, had their contract revoked. For now, the company Red Ambiental is collecting the city’s garbage.

She said that the City Council will examine which company has the necessary experience to attend to a sanitary landfill such as the one currently shared by the municipality of Benito Juárez with Isla Mujeres and Puerto Morelos.

City Council of Benito Juárez will require the winning company to find appropriate land in Cancun, and no longer on the mainland of Isla Mujeres, regardless of whether the agreement that exists with this municipality is maintained or not.