Bathers flock to contaminated Tijuana beaches despite warnings

Tijuana, Mexico, Apr 9 (EFE).- Hundreds of vacationers flocked to the beaches of the Mexican border city of Tijuana this weekend, despite the warnings of local authorities and environmental organizations about the high levels of water contamination.

Ivonne Ache, from the organization Un Rol por Playas, shared with the media that this holiday season they were recommending that it’s “better not come to the beaches, also that with vehicular traffic it was not worth it to go near the sea, because the beach is closed and it’s not good for health.”

It came after a study presented by organizations such as the Proyecto Fronterizo de Educación Ambiental showed that the beaches contained high levels of enterococci bacteria.

However, some visitors said that this was not reason enough for them not to enjoy their vacations at the beach.

Ache said that, despite the fact that the Tijuana City Council installed signs saying that the beach would be temporarily closed, people ignored them and went “without measuring the risks that this could generate for their health.”

The report, shared with EFE, revealed that none of the beaches analyzed were suitable for recreational use.

“According to the guidelines established by the Federal Committee for Protection from Sanitary Risks, the maximum number that can be reported of seawater quality for recreational use in a 100-milliliter sample, are 200 numbers of enterococci. When these numbers are exceeded, the beach represents a health risk,” it said in its report.

The results revealed that the beach area in El Faro presented a number of 1,317 enterococci; in Parque México it was 717; Aztec Glen 591; El Vigía 934, and Playa Blanca 1,785 – the highest of those analyzed.

Enterococci are bacteria found in the intestinal flora of many organisms, including humans, and can cause urinary tract, wound and various other infections, as well as endocarditis and meningitis.

José Gabriel Castro Gámez, a resident of Tijuana, told EFE that he did not know that the beach was contaminated.

“People do not pay attention and we really should not be here, because it is a risk for our children,” he said.

He said that the reason for going to the beaches despite the contamination is that there are no other recreational spaces to enjoy the Easter holidays.

“That is why people come here, and to the authorities, well, one knows that it is true, they are trying to take care of people, but it is not enough because they do not have [enough] eyes or personnel to take care of everyone,” he said.

Carmen Rubí, another resident of the city, shared that she did know about the warnings, but she still decided to go to the beach, although not into the sea because of the health risks.

“I feel that people don’t care about that, that they don’t care about health or things like that. But it is also that one regularly comes to distract oneself and clear one’s mind, despite the risk,” she said. EFE


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