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Feb 13, 2007, 3:45 PM

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Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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You are mistaken, Bubba.

Turbity is not a measure of pollution. It is more a factor of sediment, shallow substrate, prevailing winds, and temperature. Species diversity is the best measure of a healthy ecosystem. Also, the presence of certain key indicator species which are present along the gulf coast. The waters off the north shore of the Yucatan are quite safe for swimming and all human activities (in most areas) and show a healthy ecosystem.

On the other hand, certain heavy metallic ions off Cancun are totally transparent and do not make "brown" water.. but they kill sea-life and magnify up the food chain.

The waters off the Uaymitun, where my beach house is, can be very turbid in the winter when the Nortes are present. However, in the summer, I have seen them clear up to 30 foot visibility and aquamarine in color. That did not mean that suddenly the water quality got better, but the the sediments were not stirred up by 1) winds and 2) the ooidic precipitation of calcium carbonate due to warm surface waters hitting cooler currents.

Alacranes Reef, by the way, just north of Progreso, is one of the most pristine reefs in the Gulf-Caribbean region (though it is in the Gulf), full of fish, and with incredible clarity. Of course the mangrove detritus and the siltation does not get out there.

I have not seen your Aunt Bess' turds in the water around Uaymitun (population under 100). I have seen turds floating in Cozumel once. You can bet a lot of people's Aunt Bess is peeing in the water around Cancun, and especially the beer drinkers.

You stated: "Anyone with any knowledge of turbity knows that water murkiness is not a measure of water cleanliness." Of course, so? What is your point?

Wild Bill
Merida/Uaymitun Yucatan

(This post was edited by tonyburton on Feb 14, 2007, 9:14 AM)

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