A judge in Yucatan, Mexico, issued an order to pause the Maya Train work temporarily. This ruling is only for the stretch covering Playa del Carmen to Tulum, for not having an authorized environmental impact report.
The Maya Train is a mega-project promoted by Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Construction was halted after a judge ruled on the complaint filed by a group of divers. He agreed to issue a temporary suspension to avoid any environmental damage that would be difficult or even impossible to repair.
This is the first time any Mexican authority has spoken out against the project. It has been highly criticized for the deforestation of the Mayan jungles in the sections where construction work is underway.
The order includes all construction, removal, destruction, or any other activity that has to do with this project. All federal government agencies and private contractors should stop work on the “Playa del Carmen-Tulum” part. The next hearing is scheduled for April 22, where it will be decided if this suspension will be permanent.
A group of professional divers filled the formal complaint and reported that the original plans of the Maya Train had been modified. They added that it lacked planning, analysis, caution, studies of the area’s soil type, and environmental impact studies. According to their complaint, the project will go through underground rivers.
They pointed out that deforestation in places like Playa del Carmen lacked studies on environmental impact. Other areas affected include Secret River, Akumal, and Tulum. The complaint filed by the divers was made according to the law, and it had the most important legal basis. They proved this is an issue that will affect the community of Solidaridad and all users that enjoy the area.
The judge declared that this temporary halt does not affect public order. Even though society wants better roads, they also want to protect the environment. The judge added that the Maya Train construction should be suspended to avoid further damage to the environment.
Greenpeace activists in Mexico also reported that the “Angry Wasp” cavern and other underground rivers are in the Maya Train path. They stressed that it’s not a good idea due to the area’s instability.
All this comes after the video posted on March 28, where a group of celebrities expressed their opposition to the project. They explained how this project would destroy the largest network of underground rivers. President Lopez has acknowledged there are legal complications to the projects, but he wants to continue anyway.
The Palenque-Merida sector has no legal issues, and neither does the Merida-Cancun stretch, or at least most of it. Cancun-Tulum is the sector that has been contested.
Mexican Scientists Send Letter to Mexico’s President
A group of 300 Mexican scientists is asking President Lopez Obrador to stop the construction of the Maya Train. They issued a letter where they explained all the reasons why this project should be stopped.
They mentioned that they had already sent the same letter back in 2018. However, they want to address this issue again due to the “serious and irreversible damage.”
The letter addresses twenty reasons, and they explain the environmental and archaeological damages. Massive tourism is propelling the Maya Train with accelerated and unplanned urbanization. It will affect ways of life, sanitary conditions, produce garbage and increase water use and pollution.
This controversial project has had a series of setbacks. In June 2020, a section of the Playa del Carmen-Tulum federal highway collapsed. This was one of the original sectors that the Maya Train was supposed to go through.
Many studies have proven that there is a great network of underground caves in the area. This was one of the first red flags that questioned whether this was a suitable terrain for the Maya Train project.
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