Jumapam ecocide: due to the failure of a culvert, thousands of fish die in Mazatlán

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While Ecology does not enforce the environmental regulations in the municipality, the state government, Profepa and Semarnat ignore citizen complaints for wastewater discharges made by the paramunicipal in estuaries and streams of the municipality

Mazatlán, Sin.- The death of thousands of fish in the Estero del Yugo on January 7 set off environmental alarms in Mazatlán. Once again, the Cárcamo Cerritos of the Municipal Board of Drinking Water and Sewerage collapsed, and wastewater was poured into the body of water for more than 24 hours.

In addition to the environmental impact, it is a new violation of the Ecology regulation, since neither the municipal agency, much less Profepa or Semarnat, intitutions in charge of investigating and sanctioning this type of situation, have done anything with this same situation in recent years.

This contamination puts its finger on a problem that for many years has been neglected and ignored, despite the fact that there is an Environmental and Climate Change Regulation updated in 2021, which supposed to regulate the actions of environmental protection, conservation of natural resources, preservation and restoration of the ecological balance are carried out in Mazatlán, it is a dead law in the City Hall.

Sergio Valle, founder of the Ecological Council of Mazatlán Civil Association, assured that there is no response from Profepa to the complaints made, either in the state government or publicly.

“The public complaint is made on the Profepa page, but there is no response, they just give the approach and then there is no follow-up, there is no continuity, much less there is a sanction or investigation by the instances that are in charge of dealing with these problems, such as Profepa and Semarnat”, he explained.

According to articles 70 and 71 of the Mazatlán Environmental and Climate Change Regulation, the City Council is responsible for establishing sanitary criteria for the use, treatment and disposal of wastewater under particular discharge conditions to avoid risks and damage to public health; also the design and operation of potable water, sewerage and wastewater treatment systems.

“In the contamination of the Estero del Yugo, Norm 001 and 003 of water treatment are violated, it is a total violation of ecological norms and the General Law of Ecological Balance,” he stressed.

NOM-001-SEMARNAT-2021 establishes the maximum permissible limits of pollutants in wastewater discharges into national waters and assets. It refers to the specifications, test methods, sampling, temperature parameters, toxicity measurement, conformity assessment procedure, the classification of receiving bodies and the approach to subsequent uses to improve the management and protection of bodies of water, as well as compliance with international standards.

“Profepa never gives an answer. Any citizen can make a complaint for a case of contamination, but there is no follow-up, for the citizen it is useless to file a public complaint because it stays there, if by any chance they give an answer after a month and a half. This discourages citizens, makes us very receptive to pollution and all the attacks that are done to nature and natural resources.”

Article 72 of the Mazatlán Environmental and Climate Change Regulations says that to avoid water contamination, the City Council must regulate discharges of domestic, industrial and agricultural origin, which are poured into the sewage systems from population centers, as well as of the industries that are supplied through the drinking water network.

In addition to discharges of municipal origin and their uncontrolled mixing with other discharges, the dumping of solid waste in water bodies and streams and in drainage and sewage systems and the final disposal of sludge generated in water treatment systems.

“Since 1997 we have been making this type of public or popular complaints and we have never had a response, so we chose not to denounce and make it evident to the public, due to their inability to solve a problem of this type. The General Law of Ecological Balance and the environmental regulations of the state and the municipality are violated. Ecology is a dead institution; it is not enforcing the law.”

The state is in collusion

Martin Guerrero, president of the Ecological Council of Mazatlán Civil Association, pointed out that what they do is to contribute to a public complaint, because the agencies are in collusion with the state itself.

“In problems of this nature, the municipality is in charge of responding to society. As CEMAZ we have made many complaints before the state government, perhaps more than 20, and we have not had a favorable response due to the bureaucracy that prevails in this state of facts, the dependencies are in collusion with the state itself ”, he explained.

Making these facts public is the only argument they have as a civil association, so that society is aware.

“Since the contamination in the Jabalines stream, the Camarón Lagoon, many events have arisen in the city over the years, but we have not had a favorable response to such complaints when we make them formally before the state government or before Profepa and Semarnat to act accordingly against whomever it may concern, but nothing happens. Situations that have occurred in the navigation channel, in the Estero de Urías, in the Estero del Infiernillo, have been forgotten. What we can denounce is this, that we have not had a favorable response to the events from the municipality, the state, Semarnat and Profepa. It is up to the three levels of government to solve all this problem that prevails at the municipal level, and they do not do it.”

So far, he highlighted, there is no evidence of fines, of sanctions, in conclusive facts like these.

According to investigations carried out by the Ecological Center of Mazatlán, 270 cubic meters of wastewater are dumped daily into the Estero del Infiernillo in the port, which causes heavy contamination and death of flora and fauna in the area.

“There are 270 cubic meters of wastewater per day that are thrown into the Estero del Infiernillo by discharges made by Jumapam and the houses surrounding the estuary, according to investigations that we have done and nobody does anything about it,” said Valle.

He explained that it is Jumapam itself that violates the General Law of Ecological Balance, the water treatment regulations and the Environmental and Climate Change Regulations of Mazatlán in plain view.

“In addition, also because of the investigations we have done, and they can deny me if they can, 10,000 cubic meters of water are not treated and are dumped directly into the sea. Of the more than 130,000 cubic meters of wastewater that enter the treatment systems, 10,000 cubic meters are not treated and thus are thrown into the sea”.

He recalled that this problem has been present in the city for many years and that it has never been dealt with correctly.

“We have had this problem since 1976, which was the year in which they began to treat wastewater correctly, because before they used to throw the drain at the Fisherman’s Monument and we all swam there; the residual water was vented into the open sea and when the residual water treatment system began, it slowed down a bit, but currently around 10,000 cubic meters of residual water that reaches the sea directly is not treated”.

The Mazatlán Environmental and Climate Change Regulation includes guidelines on not throwing garbage on public roads, avoiding burning, use of biodegradable plastics, not polluting, among other ecological aspects.

Article 171 says that violations or non-compliance with the precepts of this regulation will be administratively sanctioned by the Civic Court, which is the competent municipal authority to quantify the amount and apply the corresponding fines and sanctions.

The sanctions can be: reprimand, a fine for the equivalent of ten to twenty thousand UMAs, temporary or permanent, partial or total closure, relocation requirement, revocation of authorizations, permits or licenses granted and arrest for up to thirty-six hours.

Source: El Sol de Mazatlan