No TrenMaya: Cenotes cave system in mexico in danger!
The new route of the No TrenMaya railway is leading through protected grounds, over a fragile underwater cave system in Mexico and cenotes have to be filled. The only freshwater source of the Yucatán Peninsula is in danger!
The Cenote in the picture above for example, Nicte-Ha in the Dos Ojos Park, will be filled up with rocks and concrete to prepare the ground for the new railway. A millenia old source of life will be destroyed forever.
What is the TrenMaya?
The No TrenMaya is a planned train from Merida to Chetumal all around Yucatan peninsula. The goal is to reduce the car traffic and be able to transport more people in public transportation.
Basically that is a great idea, if it is planned and build well. The problem is that a recent change in the plans for the railway route will have a massive impact on the environment.
Before the idea was to lead the railway along the federal road. But when constructions started impacts on the traffic of this only connection between North and south were severe. Instead of figuring out a way to solve the traffic problem, a new route straight throught the jungle was drawn.
Now there is no impact on the traffic, but on the environment.
What impact has the new route on the environment?
The picture above shows the new route as thick green line. The fine lines show a part of the cave system of the great mayan aquifire. Only those caves are in the map that were mapped with a GPS mapping system to implement it in the satellite map.
The underwater caves have a continuous flow towards the ocean. This guarantees a permanent exchange of water. Without it bacteria can become a problem, as we have seen already in a few cenotes where the flow was cut off by hotel constructions.
Besides being a sacred place in Mayan culture, a very important tourist attraction and income for many native families, the cenotes are the only source of fresh water in the Yucatán peninsula. No TrenMaya!
How are the caves affected?
The Yucatan peninsula is an ancient coral reef, hence it´s made entirely of limestone. The ceiling of many affected caves is quite thin, sometimes only a few meters. It is unlikely that it will carry the weight of a train and collapses are only a matter of time. This is not only a risk for the caves, but also for the train.
What can we do to prevent this desaster?
The local cave diving instructors and guides have organized an information campagne along with an online petition.
What each of us can do is very simple: