The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa) report certifies environmental damage due to the works of the Maya Train - Expat Community

The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa) report certifies environmental damage due to the works of the Maya Train

May 3, 2024 | Mexico, News & Articles | 0 comments

by Adriana Varillas

Specifically highlighting cement spills in five caverns caused by the piles that will support the Southern Segment 5. Activists accuse non-compliance with the suspension.

An excerpt from the report, accessed by EL UNIVERSAL, details cement spillage in the Garra de Jaguar, Manitas, Ixtun, Openheimmer, and Ocho Balas caverns “due to the placement and driving of the piles that will support the elevated viaduct where the train will run in the Southern Segment 5, with cement solidifying in dry areas and falling into the water bodies present in the affected caverns.”

Profepa presented this report to the First District Court, based in Mérida, Yucatán, as part of the request made by Judge Adrián Fernando Novelo within the amparo lawsuit filed by citizens from Playa del Carmen, Solidaridad municipality, to suspend the works on Southern Segment 5.

The complainants obtained a definitive suspension notified in January, which continues to be disregarded by the federal government, through the Ministry of National Defense (Sedena), responsible for the segment, and subcontracted companies, to whom the judge extended the instruction to halt the works.

In its report from the inspection visit, Profepa also confirmed “the oxidation process” on the pilings’ coating, the collapse of the roof or vault of an unnamed sinkhole, and cave modifications due to drilling for pillar installation.

It also verified water extraction “without authorization from the competent authority”; filling and burial with stone material of unnamed caverns, and presence of drilling residue in the aquifer mantle of another cavern, among other violations of Condition 26 contained in the environmental impact resolution issued by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) in favor of the project in June 2022.

A chilling report

Patricia Godínez, member of the organization Moce Yax Cuxtalt and the Sélvame del Tren movement, said the report is “chilling” because it confirms what has been denounced regarding damages to the caverns, sinkholes, and aquifer.

She noted that in addition to defying the definitive suspension, the works continue and the damage spreads.

“Based on the findings […] during the verification visit, there is non-compliance with what is established in Condition 26 [related to avoiding contamination and damage to the karst system],” she added.

After receiving Profepa’s report, the judge issued an agreement stating:

“It is evident with sufficient certainty that environmental damage is being committed that could be difficult or impossible to repair, which obliges this judge to maintain the precautionary measure [the suspension] that continues to have effects at this time, and in that sense, it is not possible to order its revocation as the responsible authorities intend,” and ordered a judicial inspection to verify the contempt of the definitive suspension.

Biologist and cave diver Roberto Rojo explained that divers, explorers, and tourist guides accessing those caves do so carefully to avoid damaging the ecosystem, without wearing sunscreen to prevent water contamination.

“And suddenly the government arrives and breaks and destroys the caves, destroys the stalactites, contaminates the water. The Maya Train project has been a nightmare,” he criticized.

In January, EL UNIVERSAL reported on the piling in the caverns, and on February 6, environmentalists revealed the cement spill inside the Garra de Jaguar cave.

After initially denying the incident, on March 11, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador acknowledged it as an accident and said it was “already being fixed.” Experts indicate that workers hammer the cement and collect it with buckets.


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