Costa Maya, Q.R. — Construction workers seen filling in a section of Estero de Chac have been ordered to stop. Citizen outrage brought the filling of the estuary to the attention of state authorities Friday.
The workers were videoed manually filling in a part of the water system with pipes and boulders. Since Saturday, the Secretary of National Defense (Sedena), who are in charge of the workers, acknowledged “human error” and ordered the work be stopped.
The material placed in the Estero de Chac, including the rocks, has already been removed from estuary that connects with the Bacalar lagoon. A public meeting was held between people from Bacalar, Othón P. Blanco, Huay-Pix, Xul-Há and other areas adjacent to the estuary, with military and government authorities.
Research biologist María Luisa Villarreal, who participated in the public meeting, confirmed that the material used to fill the estuary has been removed. She said the workers were laying a total of 12 pipes and filling the estuary with large rocks to create a temporary bridge for trucks to pass.
“They told us that the intention was to fill in the estuary and place around 12 pipes for the passage of water, but that it would only be temporary so that the trucks that transport material could pass through, however, that is something that cannot be done even temporarily because you are affecting a lagoon ecosystem that is very fragile,” she explained.
During the meeting, which was headed by Sedena’s Colonel Elizondo, one of the Maya Train section 6 supervisors where the human error occurred, acknowledged that the channel being filled connects to the Laguna de los Siete and the Río Hondo and that it works as a natural water filter.
“At first when we found out about it, we went to verify it in person and then with drones and we confirmed that there was already material deposited in the canal and about 12 tubes that were going to be placed.
“The news went viral and we denounced it with evidence, but fortunately it was resolved. We will be very vigilant that things are done well,” she added.
Authorities have since agreed to come up with another way to cross the estuary without damaging it.
On Saturday, it was reported that temporary bridges will be constructed to facilitate the transportation of the material needed for section 6 of the Maya Train. The part being worked on is rail that will run from the state’s capital city of Chetumal to the town of Bacalar.