Despite recent stories stating that the beaches across Cancun are noticeably clearer of the stinky seaweed nuisance that is sargassum, there’s a new problem plaguing them – garbage – that has become the current point of concern. Travelers and travel authorities in the region have noticed a rise in the amount of litter strewn across the once beautiful beaches of the region, which can not only lead to all manner of health concerns but also play its part in ruining the vibes and aesthetics of a much needed and costly beach vacation.
Yet whilst garbage on beaches can usually be traced back to visiting travelers not respecting their surroundings and poorly behaved locals who should know better, the issue in Cancun may actually be attributed to neither. As the problems plaguing the beaches of Cancun go from one thing to another, here’s a look at the situation on the sand, what’s behind the unfortunate build-up, and what steps are being taken to address this rubbish issue.
Garbage On Beaches – Information For Travelers
As far as years go, 2022 has been a bit of a roller coaster for Cancun. Thinking positively, the end of the global pandemic has seen record-breaking numbers of travelers from a range of different countries around the world passing through not just Cancun but the Mexican Caribbean region, building on Mexico’s success that came after the country became one of the first to remove its Draconian entry requirements.
However, with so many travelers flocking to its shores, Cancun has been closely examined under the spotlight – and not all of the findings have been positive. For several months, Cancun and the wider region have battled against an invasion of sargassum, a harmless but unsightly and stinky form of seaweed that washed up on the beaches in vast quantities. Whilst the sargassum season is now all but over in the region, to the relief of travelers, a new problem has emerged – garbage on the beaches of Cancun.
Despite it being the region’s low season at present, a significant amount of garbage has settled on beaches throughout Cancun in recent weeks. According to the Directorate of Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zones, a total of 34.91 tons of solid garbage was created across just seven beaches – Del Niño, Las Perlas, Marlín, Chac Mool, Gaviota Azul, Delfines, and Nizuc Playa Coral – making them much less attractive as destinations despite some of these beaches being hailed as the region’s best.
Whilst sargassum was largely harmless to travelers, garbage is a different story. Not only has environmentally problematic plastic garbage been found present at these beaches, but also glass under the sand, which could cause serious damage to swimmers and sunbathers alike. As well as causing damage to travelers, it could also damage the region’s reputation. Cancun has several Blue Flag beaches, and with cleanliness and environmental sustainability key factors in receiving the accolades, it could soon lose them.
Much of the garbage washing up on the beaches has been attributed to sargassum, washing up alongside the seaweed. Hotels, the government, and environmental agencies have worked tirelessly together to free the beaches of unwanted flotsam and jetsam, with around 180 full-time employees charged with maintaining the beauty of the beaches in the high season. Now, however, it seems they have their hands full in dealing with the current crisis.
In the past, the unkempt state of the beaches has caused some travelers to refuse to pay the lodging tax, visitor’s rights, and sanitation taxes that are charged by the municipality of Quintana Roo to contribute towards ensuring they are clean. Should garbage continue to fill the beaches in vast quantities, this could be a continuing trend that only serves to negatively impact the situation further. With huge numbers of travelers expected to visit the region in the winter travel period, the government has a tough job on its hands to deliver the clean, beautiful beaches travelers will be expecting.
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