Thursday, 22 February 2024
TechMayan Train: environmentalists exhibit caves pierced by concrete and steel pillars (Video)

Mayan Train: environmentalists exhibit caves pierced by concrete and steel pillars (Video)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The network of caves, cenotes and underground rivers of Mexico’s tourist Yucatan Peninsula, with open caverns where the sun’s rays play with stalactites and crystalline water, is now crossed in some parts by huge pillars of steel and cement that arrived with a government megaproject.

Videos and photographs published by Mexican environmentalists, who have been denouncing for years the damage to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s flagship work – the tourist Mayan Train and all its surrounding facilities – show the underground alteration in one of the greatest attractions of the Mexican Caribbean.

Guillermo DChristy, speleologist, water quality expert and one of the many activists who are denouncing the environmental dangers of the star project of the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, published the material this week on his social networks to demonstrate that the theoretically conservationist promises of the government are not being fulfilled.

The videos, he said, were taken on Sunday.

“We were supposed to protect this system of caves and cenotes and the promise was that they were not going to be touched,” DChristy says in the recordings in reference to the government and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). “You lied to us, Mr. President.”

“Yes, they are drilled and concrete is being injected into them,” he added. “We already have at least 12 large boreholes… Massing tourism, massive real estate developments and passing a train through the jungle is the worst ecocide that has ever been done in this place.”

The network of caves, cenotes—freshwater pools—and underground rivers on the Caribbean coast of Mexico is a very sensitive area from an environmental point of view. They are the only source of fresh water in the region, since there are no surface rivers in this terrain formed by limestone rock.

But it also has important archaeological value because some of the oldest human remains in North America have been discovered there. As the caves were dry about 10,000 years ago, humans and animals used them before they flooded at the end of the last Ice Age, about eight thousand years ago, preserving many of the remains there.

DChristy found the columns in a cave complex known as Aktun Túyul, near the town of Xpu Ha, about 100 kilometers south of Cancun, on an unfinished section of the train that runs between Cancun and the beach town of Tulum.

The military company that is building the train did not immediately respond to a request for comment nor did INAH.

López Obrador had promised that part of his controversial Mayan Train project, a 1,500-kilometer, $20 billion project that connects the main tourist sites on the peninsula, would run along an elevated road supported by piles to avoid crushing or disturbing the roads. caves and cenotes. In addition, the mega-project has cut down kilometers of jungle.

The president inaugurated the first sections of the train at the end of last year and wants to have it completed before leaving office on October 1. The work is in the hands of the armed forces – whose functions in Mexico have multiplied during the presidency of López Obrador – who, in addition, will also manage tourism projects in the area.

Although the authorities have promoted the train as a transport that will be functional for moving locals and also merchandise, its only real source of significant income would be tourists.

Criticism from environmentalists began even before the start of construction and has multiplied as construction has progressed. The president’s response has always been the same: that the environmentalists who criticize him are part of his conservative enemies.

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