Organization Tested More Than 250 Mexico Beaches Across Mexico Ahead Of Busy Easter Season
Cancun and the rest of Quintana Roo’s water quality has been tested ahead of the busy Easter season to ensure there are no potential health risks. 265 beaches across Mexico were tested as part of the program.
The organization running the program named the Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS) tested the waters of Cancun, Cozumel, Tulum, Riviera Maya, Tulum, and Costa Maya to ensure their beaches are safe for new visitors to enjoy on their vacation. In total, 28 beaches across all of the listed destinations were tested in Quintana Roo.
The test involves taking samples of the water nearest the shoreline and analyzing it for a substance called fecal enterococci. This is a bacteria found in the intestinal tracts of animals, and the World Health Organization uses it as the standard test for water safety across the world.
If more than 200 enterococci are found per 100 milliliters of water, the area is deemed unsafe and signs must be placed explaining that swimming in that area is off-limits.
Luckily, the beaches of Quintana Roo all passed the test, allowing COFEPRIS to designate all of the beaches in the state safe for visitors to swim. Across the country, more than 90% of the beaches passed the test as well. Beaches in other areas of the country that were not ruled as safe include Playa Hermosa, in Baja California, Playa Hornos, Playa Suave, and Playa Tlacopanocha in Guerrero, and Sayulita Beach in Nayarit. The ones with problems were likely polluted by nearby wastewater disposal pumping sewage into the sea.
Although it was expected that the water would be safe enough, the government will still likely breathe a sigh of relief as closing multiple beaches would add to a growing list of health and safety concerns the state is dealing with.
From a health and safety perspective, multiple incidents in the last few weeks have drawn concern for the protocols in place to protect tourists. A Paraguayan man went missing after entering the water under a red flag. A red flag designates that swimming could be dangerous due to strong currents or aggressive waves. Although he chose to enter the water himself, incidents like this consistently draw criticism towards the local authorities, regardless of culpability. No body has been found. An American woman also lost her life drowning near the beach.
In another tragic incident, a local diving operator ignored globally acknowledged safety rules and sailed its boat straight through a diving area, killing two American divers who were about to emerge from underwater.
Playa del Carmen then felt its own tragedy as a local restaurant blew up after a gas explosion. The incident killed at least three and injured more than twenty others.
As isolated incidents, they may be of no major concern, but as Mexico loses its advantage of being one of the few countries in the world open to tourists, visitors have a decision on their hands. With plenty of other world-class beach destinations now available to them, a growing list of safety concerns may turn them back to Europe or other Caribbean destinations.
The Government will be placing a heavy emphasis on ensuring Cancun and Quintana Roo develops in the manner necessary to safeguard tourists to the state. The water tests will be good news, and hopefully, help counter any other issues including the frustrating presence of sargassum seaweed in the state.
Travelers looking to travel to Cancun in the near future and especially over the Easter period should ensure to contact any restaurants or activity providers to book spots and avoid disappointment, With millions expected to pass through the state, bookings are likely to be high.
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