Stretching over 1,000km down the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, the Mesoamerican Reef is the second largest barrier reef in the world next to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Over 500 types of fish including the largest fish in the world, the whale shark, and many endangered species such as Leatherback Turtles, Elkhorn Coral, and the Splendid Toadfish call the Mesoamerican Reef home. The entire region as whole is one of nine biodiversity “hotspots” in the world, which by definition are “Earth’s Biologically Richest and Most Endangered Terrestrial Ecoregions.”
To be rich in life is to be fragile in existence.
Since the 1990s, it is believed that sewage and wastewater from the booming cities of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, along with overfishing, coral disease, and climate change, may have contributed to the loss of up to 50% of corals on the reefs along the region’s coast. With a 10-fold increase in population expected by 2030, the problems will only worsen. Thankfully, Tulum still has the opportunity to change. To create an ecologically protected haven would promote sustainable tourism in a region that depends on the health and vitality of its marine ecosystem. The dazzling aqua-blue water lines and saturated coral patterns that drive millions of tourists to the Mayan Riviera each year, will lose their primal life source in what took over 3 million years to create. As Caribbean Cruise lines parade over crumbled reefs in Cozumel, and as waste water treatment plants directly inject black water into the endlessly cycling Caribbean Sea on the banks of Cancun; in fifty years we will have witnessed the rise and fall of three booming Mexican coastal towns, as their very life source perishes before their eyes, forever turning the ocean into a new shade of blue.
This entry was posted on Monday, November 7th, 2011 at 3:33 am
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