Protest in southern Mexico calls for protection of water ecosystems

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico, Feb 5 (EFE).- Residents and activists in southern Mexico marched on Sunday to demand that the government protect water ecosystems in the framework of World Wetlands Day and amid a national water crisis.

The demonstration, which began in south of San Cristóbal de las Casas, in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, and ended in wetlands known as navajuelos, took place peacefully.

“We make the urgent call to the municipal government (of) Mariano Diaz Ochoa and Governor Rutilio Escandon, especially to the environmental bodies that the wetlands be protected immediately, we are seeing a serious environmental crisis in San Cristóbal,” Nicolás Gómez, a member of the General Council of the Southern Zone and wetlands in San Cristóbal de las Casas, told EFE.

The activist said that half the population of Chiapas lacked access to water, adding that serious environmental damage had made the problem worse.

“Climate reparations must begin with a halt to deforestation, a halt to African palm plantations and urban expansion that are damaging the wetlands and ecosystems that inhabit them,” Gómez said.

In San Cristóbal de las Casas, he explained, more than 200 hectares of the wetlands of María Eugenia and Laquis are being destroyed and polluted. These aquifers supply water to 70 percent of the population.

The activist said that the protesters are also demanding justice for the unique species that inhabit these mountain wetlands, including the Popoyote or the Chiapas killifish.

“These wetlands are declared protected areas, subject to ecological conservation. Unfortunately, real estate interests linked to political interests are destroying more than 200 hectares that the settlements have been defending for 10 years,” Gómez said.

The protesters criticized the Mexican government’s action in response to the climate crisis and the construction of the Mayan train in the southeast of the country that has been accompanied by deforestation.

“This is a call to be aware of the environmental problems we have, industries such as Coca (Cola) should no longer be allowed to draw more water because they finish the water for the people” college student Maira Ruiz said.

Feb. 2 was decreed World Wetlands Day in 1997 on the date commemorating the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971. EFE


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