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Popular Cancun Lagoon Tour Area Sees Garbage And Litter Amounts Double

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Surrounded by hundreds of mangroves in and around Cancun, the Nichupte Lagoon is the beating heart of this unique part of the world.

It is part of what helps to keep the natural beauty of Cancun thriving.

It is also located along the border of the busy and bustling part of town, and the Nichupte Lagoon is now seeing more garbage and litter than in years past.

Tropical lake Nichupte lagoon, Cancun, Mexico.

It was recently discovered over the weekend that the lagoon has been subject to an increased amount of contamination so far this year.

The waste found consists of inorganic, non-recyclable items as well as some recyclable materials. 

This amount recorded is more than twice the amount of garbage and litter that was recorded in this area around the same time last year, during the first few months of 2022. 

Mangrove zone at Tajamar pier, in Cancun, Mexico.

Trash Collection Of The Lagoon Carried Out By Local Organization

Alejandra Corona Contreras, a director of a local Cancun recycling drop-off center, noted that after visiting the lagoon area to collect dumped trash and litter twice so far this year, the amount collected was double compared to the amount seen the previous year.

His team collected around 150 kilos (over 330 pounds) of trash and litter in one day when last year, the amount was about 80 kilos. The waste included items such as potato chip bags, glass, PET plastic items, hotel glasses, and more. 

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garbage collection at the beach in the Mexican Caribbean.

“Since (the lagoon) has a mangrove swamp, the garbage gets into the middle of the swamp, and for us going deep into the mangrove is very complex and dangerous. For starters, the area is known to have crocodiles, and we don’t want to disturb the mangrove swamp with our kayaks,” Contreras said.

He also noted that going around the lagoon to collect the waste on foot is also very risky because they aren’t always sure just how deep the water goes or if there’s quicksand.

Nichupté Lagoon Cancun

Trash And Waste Mostly From Tourist Boats And Nearby Hotels

The experts and local activists who’ve spearheaded this lagoon cleanup have also noted that the garbage and litter appear to be coming from the tourist boats that travel through the lagoon every day. Garbage left in the lagoon is also coming from the nearby hotels. 

Eduardo Torrecilla Chávez, the director of operations at the organization, mentioned that each lagoon cleanup covers over 300 yards of the mangrove region.

The mangrove is cleaned twice every three months. These cleanups are where they notice that the trash and other items are coming from the accommodations nearby in the Hotel Zone, as well as items that have been discarded by people on boat tours of the lagoon.

Amongst the waste were plastic items that were trapped in the mangrove roots and even crabs stuck in glass bottles.

While there is a significant amount of non-recyclable items collected, Chavez noted that almost 40% of the garbage that’s been removed from the Nichupte Lagoon this year consists of recyclable items.

man holding plastic trash from beach

Experts Share Tips For Tourists To Help Protect The Lagoon

Will 2024 see double the trash compared to 2023?

As these experts made an update on the garbage and litter situation so far this year for the lagoon, they also shared some quick tips on how travelers can limit their plastic consumption to help reduce the waste that’s been accumulating in this lagoon.

Instead of constantly buying plastic bottles (water or soda, etc.), use a refillable water bottle (a thermos, for example) and refill it at the purified water stations around town. Also, limit your styrofoam use as this material is not recyclable. 

cleaning trash beach

Where Is The Nichupte Lagoon: Information For Travelers

Located between the infamous Cancun Hotel Zone and the downtown area, the Nichupte Lagoon is one of the most significant bodies of water in the region.

More importantly, the lagoon serves as a vital nature reserve to the area. It is also made up of freshwater and saltwater.

The lagoon connects to the nearby Caribbean Sea through two different canals, including the Nizuc Canal. 

Boating in mangroves at Mayan Riviera Mexico in Cancun Nichupte Lagoon

Visiting The Nichupte Lagoon: What Tourists In Cancun Should Know

Most travelers to Cancun and the Riviera Maya will undoubtedly pass by this beautiful lagoon at some point during their trip. 

We also added this gorgeous natural wonder on our recently published list of the best lagoons in the Mexican Caribbean to visit this year for travelers wanting to avoid sargassum on their trip. 

aerial view of pristine looking Nichupte Lagoon.

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