Pig Farms Accused Of Defiling Mexico's 'sacred Wells'
Muhammad Irfan 2 months ago Thu 05th August 2021 | 12:39 PM
Long revered by the Maya people as sacred and today a magnet for tourists, local indigenous communities fear the water-filled sinkholes of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula are under threat from industrial pig farms
Mrida (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 5th Aug, 2021 ) :Long revered by the Maya people as sacred and today a magnet for tourists, local indigenous communities fear the water-filled sinkholes of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula are under threat from industrial pig farms.
Known as cenotes, the thousands of cavities are part of a vast labyrinth of caves connected to a giant aquifer under the lush jungle of a region known as the "Riviera Maya." For the indigenous people who inhabit the area in southeast Mexico, they are a source of drinking water that their ancestors called "sacred wells." "The area where we have our gift from God is like a sieve -- the water from all around goes down into the cenotes," said Doroteo Hau, an indigenous resident and tour guide.
Now the 62-year-old fears that the purity of the cenotes is being put at risk to satisfy burgeoning Asian demand for pork.
"They're going to destroy what we're taking care of," said Hau, who teamed up with other residents to form an organization called the Guardians of the Cenotes.
If the complex reopens, Doroteo said that he is willing to "take up machetes" to defend the cenotes.
There are about 257 pig farms in the region, of which only 22 have submitted environmental impact studies, according to a report released by environmental group Greenpeace last year.
The environment ministry did not respond to AFP's request for comment the matter.
Residents of several communities accuse farms located in remote areas of dumping untreated waste in the jungle.
"The stench is too much.
One demonstrator dragged a plastic pig through the dirt streets shouting demands for the farms to close.
The stakes are so high that intimidation tactics are allegedly used against local communities.
"We're threatened by the people who work on the farms," resident Yolanda Chi said during a public consultation in which inhabitants mostly rejected the pig farms.
The pig farm owners insist that their waste management meets the necessary standards.
"We don't pollute anything," Alberto Alfonso of Grupo Porcicola Mexicano, the largest operator in Yucatan, told AFP.
He showed off systems used to treat organic waste during a tour of the complex.
But the author of the Greenpeace study, Viridiana Lazaro, maintains that samples taken from the cenotes and wells in the area indicate the presence of "contaminants." Experts from the United Nations Development Program reported a similar finding.
"It's partly attributable to farms," said Xavier Moya, representative of the UN agency in the Yucatan.
Samples contained bacteria found in animal feces and traces of antibiotics, he said.
For Hau and other indigenous residents, the idea of the sacred cenotes being gradually destroyed by pollution is too much to bear.
"No, we can't take any more!" he said.