Mexico vacationers swim at highly contaminated beaches

The monitoring of water quality at the beaches of Mexico underestimates the level of contamination that is registered at tourist destinations, said Pierre Terra, coordinator of the Greenpeace of Mexico Oceans Campaign.

The beaches of Veracruz, Acapulco, Zihuatanejo, Puerto Vallarta, Bahía de Banderas and Compostela are registering elevated levels of contamination this vacation season.

In 22 out of 29 tourist destination beaches where the Environmental and Natural Resources Ministry (SEMARNAT, for its initials in Spanish) performed water quality tests of ocean waters, the levels of enterococcus found were greater than the threshold for health risk.

According to the most recent results of the Water Qulaity Monitoring System of Priority Beaches (SISPLAYAS, for its intials in Spanish), which were on July 11 and distributed this week, the highest levels are in Regatas, in Veracruz, with 24,196 enterococcus per 100 milliliters of water. Rincón de Guayabitos 1, of Compostela, had the same quantity and Carabalí, in Acapulco, had 7,270.

The criteria established by SEMARNAT indicate a health risk is present when the readings exceed 200 enterococcus per 100 milliliters of water.

“This level represents a 5 to 10 percent risk of gastrointestinal illness and 1.9 to 3.9 percent risk of acure respiratory infections,” said Cofepris is their summer pre-vacation report dated July 6.


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