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Old 08-07-2017   #1 (permalink)
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Holbox.....paradise lost?

Translated from todays PorEsto


In recent years, the island of Holbox has become, in short, a living and lacerating example of the lack of planning in the tourist destinations of the entity and the country and of the uncontrolled avarice of tourist companies, which translates In practices of environmental and human depredation.
For two weeks, the place known as the treasure of the Mexican Caribbean, is in the forefront after the collapse in basic services such as water, electricity, garbage, drainage, as well as speculation and irregular sale of land.
Given this, the inhabitants fear the worst, because in a short time the collapse would generate irreversible environmental problems, as well as the loss of tourism in holiday seasons, as has happened now.
"If we lost a lot of tourism"; Said Bárbara Hernández, president of the Holbox Hotels Association. The loss of tourists occurred two weeks ago when there was the threat of closing the island to visitors
In numbers there is talk of at least a 30 percent drop, as the threat of closure is still latent and social networks have highlighted the fact that Holbox currently lives a major collapse.
"We can not remove the finger of the line, we have to continue to request the support of the authorities, but if we were directly hit by the fact that we said we would close the island, at least we lost a 30 percent tourist arrival," said Barbara Hernandez
For the president of the Holbox Hotels Association, reality indicates that the crisis has been caused by disorder, excessive growth, corruption and the absence of the authorities at all three levels of government.
It should be noted that the infrastructure of the island - originally conceived for a thousand inhabitants - was definitely surpassed by a population growth of more than 400 percent, to which has been added the constant increase in the number of visitors, which in a week Anyone amounts to about six thousand, but that has known peaks of between 12 thousand and 15 thousand tourists, as it happens in the current holiday season.
Such saturation led to a crisis in the supply of electricity and potable water and caused a collapse in drains and landfills, so that inhabitants and travelers face unhealthy, dangerous and extremely uncomfortable circumstances.
The picture is not flattering, however, for Bárbara Hernández, in Holbox there is no plan b, so authorities should be kept with attention on an island that holds much of the tourist history of Quintana Roo.

Environmental collapse

Since a year ago, organizations such as Greenpeace and Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental (Cemda) have warned of deficiencies in services in Holbox and the overexploitation of this and other destinations that make up the Yum Balam Protected Natural Area (ANP) in Quintana Roo .
Within the framework of the Management Plan of the area, the organizations sent to the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (Conanp) a document urging them to limit the number of permitted guests on the island and present figures regarding the number of visitors And tourists arriving at the Protected Natural Area.
In the deployment that was also supported by organizations such as Salvemos Tajamar, Moce Yax Cuxtal and the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) mention that the growth of hotel infrastructure and tourism services has exploded despite the fact that in none of the localities is there a network Nor adequate infrastructure necessary to provide basic services such as potable water, electricity and waste collection.
"It is a collapsed island, there are too many tourists, there is no solid waste management, there is no adequate water treatment; In fact we speak of a tourism that is not sustainable, it is not lasting.
"Since November we have warned: this island is collapsed, there will come a time when it will not last longer, and as we do not know what the carrying capacity is unknown the actual excess of tourists it receives," explained Miguel Rivas, doctor in Biology and in charge of the campaign of oceans of Greenpeace.
In November last year, NGOs noted that the authorization of "support services infrastructure" and heliports put at risk a highly conserved area of ​​Isla Grande, in Holbox, which is habitat for hundreds of species, Exchange of nutrients between ecosystems and biological corridors for species of wide range of distribution.
In addition to the threat to the wildlife of the reserve, the unhealthiness of garbage and the collapse of drainage is a constant risk to the local population because of the pollution left by tourism, said the biologist.
"The theme of Holbox is like killing the hen of golden eggs, has a wonderful place that receives a number of tourists that is not controlled and end up hurting the place that nowadays not only have to do with an environmental problem but With the tourists who are leaving to reach the area, "he warned.
The same organizations issued an alert this year calling on the UN rapporteur to conduct a thorough investigation and urge the authorities to fulfill their obligations to respect and protect the human right to clean water and sanitation in the communities of Yum Balam and Of its visitors.
Miguel Rivas explained that in the follow-up that the organization has given to the development of the Yum Balam Management and Preservation Program, Protected Natural Area to which Holbox belongs, in November the Conanp announced that it was already ready, however, it has not Been published in the Official Gazette of the Federation.
In America, only the Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha, cataloged as Natural Park Marinho, has a management plan for its preservation in which is limited the number of visitors to 650 people, who pay a tax to stay in this, and its inhabitants Do not exceed 3 thousand 600.

DATA BOX

Greenpeace detected some irregularities last year:

Hotels that dumped drainage wastes in the island's mangrove.

There was no sewage system.

The garbage on the island was concentrated in an open air dump.

There was no proper solid waste management.

Mangrove logged despite federal law prohibits it.

The beach was contaminated with solid waste.

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Old 08-08-2017   #2 (permalink)
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Today's Poresto translated:

"Predatory tourism"



The discomfort has been widespread on the island of Holbox. The palliative proposed by the state government did not result in that tourist destination and the mayor of Lázaro Cárdenas, Emilio Jiménez Ancona received the wrath of the population.
The mayor was comfortable at the Holbox fishing tournament when a hundred people cornered him and rebuked him that the problem of water and electric power remains latent on the island.
The first mayor sought to protect himself and even rerouted against the government of Carlos Joaquin Gonzalez, who said he has not supported the "enough". His words were to try to reassure widespread anger.
Beyond politics, the clash between the mayor of Lazaro Cardenas and the inhabitants of Holbox, showed that the problem on the island is still latent and growing at a rapid pace.
The warnings of how this would happen, came from many organizations and organizations that held for a year that the collapse was about to occur.
However, nobody did anything. Currently the municipality of Lázaro Cárdenas is unable to obtain sufficient resources to invest in Holbox, meanwhile the state government only presents temporary solutions to a problem that has already generated the possibility of the island leaving its tourist side and lost as the Treasure of the Mexican Caribbean.

The warnings

For environmental group Greenpace, beyond governmental responsibilities, Quintana Roo exemplifies the permanent and disorderly growth of cities, without infrastructure - electricity grid, roads or adequate services - drinking water supply, drainage and sewerage, discharges and Wastewater treatment and adequate disposal of solid waste - which would cause the carrying capacity of the ecosystem to be exceeded.
Greenpeace calls "predatory tourism" to large-scale projects that only seek short-term benefit without internalizing environmental and social costs. It is a model that has been in Mexico since the 1970s and has already caused many problems, from pollution and overcrowding to the destruction of ecosystems such as mangroves.
The latter is what has happened with Holbox. It is not enough to declare protected areas, but it requires political will that demonstrates the interest in preserving these fragile, fragile and vulnerable ecosystems, rather than favoring political and economic development criteria for national or international companies at the expense of communities and the environment environment.
From this environmental organization three calls were made to the authorities in its three spheres of government: Federal, State and Municipal, as well as investors to review the situation on Isla Holbox, to respect the federal and state constitutional order, legislations Federal and local levels and the common welfare in the protection of the environment should be weighed against the economic interest of a few.
None of the three calls were taken into account. Holbox does not have a management program as a Protected Natural Area, although it must have been filed since 1995, one year after the creation of the ANP.
This has caused the island to be fractioned and its land use changed in order to promote the construction of high-impact tourism developments, which has increased land tenure conflicts and is causing islanders to be Deceived and stripped of their lands, which obliterates social justice.
According to fraction II of Article 42 of the Political Constitution of the United States of Mexico, islands, keys and reefs are established as part of the national territory in the adjacent seas, these are the integral elements of the Mexican Insular Territory.
With respect to the Mexican Island Territories (TIM), Article 48 of the Constitution establishes that they depend directly on the Government of the Federation, except for those islands on which, until the date of the promulgation of the Mexican Constitution (February 5, 1917) The states have exercised jurisdiction. That is, the island territories off the coast of Nayarit, Baja California, Baja California Sur and Quintana Roo, states created after the constitution of 1917, depend directly on the Federation.
Thus, there is a contradiction between what is established in the Constitution of the State of Quintana Roo and what is stated in the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States. Taking into account the principle of hierarchy, the Constitution of the State includes territorial provisions that are not in accordance with the provisions of the Mexican Constitution, which would render ineffective the provisions of the State Constitution in this matter.
The problem in Holbox is therefore far more environmental than the last decade, especially in the north-west. Previously, roads were opened and land was settled that were populated by mangroves, chitales and wetlands.
The federal intervention temporarily stopped the process of opening but now is the part that is transformed quickly and anarchically at the expense of these resources. There a lot of one thousand square meters sells up to one million pesos, depending on its location.
On the big island there are plots of four hectares that are sold at 10 million pesos. It should be noted that the first settlers of the island settled in that part and a hurricane destroyed their houses. 16 inhabitants survived that constituted what today is the town of Holbox. This is the most fragile and eroded area. When a hurricane comes around, it causes a lot of damage.
Holbox has about 5 thousand inhabitants and a growing floating population that deals with construction, hotels and restaurants. It registers a high rate of immigrants attracted by job and / or business opportunities.
Its hotel zone, to the northeast, no longer grows so much. There is a severe problem of garbage and drainage. The most important economic activity is no longer fishing, which continues to decline. Today is tourism and its services, with 550 hotel rooms and 400 golf carts to travel around the island without any rules.
The conflict that unleashes many more is the land of the ejido. That is why the priorities of the official authorities and the authentic inhabitants of the island are to clearly define the tenure of the land and who are the true leaders of the ejido, avoid manipulation of people and achieve agreements that allow planning urban growth, So that the resources that give reason to be Holbox as a tourist attraction are preserved. That is, its landscape, its natural beauty. And guarantee their long-term sustainable livelihoods.
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Old 08-08-2017   #3 (permalink)
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We are going on the 23rd. I will let you all know how it goes. I've been in contact with Mawimbi and they said so far they have been operating normally with no problems.
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Old 08-29-2017   #4 (permalink)
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We stayed six nights and it was fabulous. The power went out for about five minutes one night and we saw and smelled no evidence of overflowing sewage systems. The owner of our hotel admitted that there are some infrastructure problems, but that TPTB are working hard to try and remedy them. She believes that it may take at least a year to completely fix things.

We had such a good time, I booked a room for next year.
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Old 08-29-2017   #5 (permalink)
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Holbox is powered by two generators. The original capacity was for 2000 residents which has now increased to over 4000. Add in the number of hotels built (with A.C.) and the power system is over taxed.
The plan is to bring power from the mainland.
That's probably a two year proposition.
The septic/sewer problems are another issue which are being addressed - albeit, slowly.
Our week was incredible.
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Old 08-29-2017   #6 (permalink)
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There was a fantastic salsa band at Hot Corner last night, and people were dancing barefoot in the sandy streets. Then we grabbed a couple of beers at the corner store and went to the beach and played in the glowing bioluminescence. It's a beautiful place.
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Old 08-30-2017   #7 (permalink)
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Holbox

How were the skiiters? Glad things are not quite as bad as reported re the power and sewer. Thanks for the reports Sue and Rick
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Old 08-30-2017   #8 (permalink)
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How were the skiiters? Glad things are not quite as bad as reported re the power and sewer. Thanks for the reports Sue and Rick
A good quality repellant is needed.
Things may have changed there but the bugs haven't.
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Old 08-30-2017   #9 (permalink)
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A good quality repellant is needed.
Things may have changed there but the bugs haven't.
We have a good supply of 25% and 30% deet wipes, and more flying in tomorrow.

Take a day trip to Isla Mujeres on Sept 11, 12, or 13 and play some bocce with us
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Old 08-30-2017   #10 (permalink)
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We have a good supply of 25% and 30% deet wipes, and more flying in tomorrow.

Take a day trip to Isla Mujeres on Sept 11, 12, or 13 and play some bocce with us
We are going to be there the 14th to the 17th.
Just missed you.
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Old 08-30-2017   #11 (permalink)
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We are going to be there the 14th to the 17th.
Just missed you.
We leave on the 15th. Lets do dinner on the 14th, Mike and Bonny will be with us.
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Old 08-31-2017   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Sue View Post
We stayed six nights and it was fabulous. The power went out for about five minutes one night and we saw and smelled no evidence of overflowing sewage systems. The owner of our hotel admitted that there are some infrastructure problems, but that TPTB are working hard to try and remedy them. She believes that it may take at least a year to completely fix things.

We had such a good time, I booked a room for next year.
Sue, what hotel did you stay at?
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Old 08-31-2017   #13 (permalink)
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We are going on the 23rd. I will let you all know how it goes. I've been in contact with Mawimbi and they said so far they have been operating normally with no problems.
I think Mawimbi.
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Old 08-31-2017   #14 (permalink)
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I think Mawimbi.
Yes, it is also our hotel on Holbox. Staying there for a week in early December.
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Old 08-31-2017   #15 (permalink)
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Sue, what hotel did you stay at?
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I think Mawimbi.
Yes, Mawimbi. We had Lenny with us so we needed a dog friendly place. And honestly, it's my very favorite place on the island.
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