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Bloviator

Jan 20, 2007, 4:11 AM

Post #1 of 28 (12784 views)

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Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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Between the beautiful white beaches and the absolutely great museum of naval aviation, we almost moved to Pensacola before we came here. The hurricanes sort of soured us on that idea. If we had followed through, we would have checked out Deston Beach also as it is near to Pensacola and highly recommended by experts on that area.

I was fascinated by the beaches between Campeche and Ciudad del Carmen. Miles and miles of beautiful beaches with almost no development. Occasional homes built in isolation - I assume with generators, wells, satellites, and all the other necessities if one doesn't have services provided. Evidently, though from reading the forum, I find that the beaches along the Gulf are highly polluted.


(This post was edited by tonyburton on Feb 14, 2007, 9:13 AM)



wildbill

Feb 13, 2007, 11:04 AM

Post #2 of 28 (12677 views)

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Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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Dlyman6500 stated: "I was fascinated by the beaches between Campeche and Ciudad del Carmen. Miles and miles of beautiful beaches with almost no development. Occasional homes built in isolation - I assume with generators, wells, satellites, and all the other necessities if one doesn't have services provided. Evidently, though from reading the forum, I find that the beaches along the Gulf are highly polluted."

Dlyman6500, what you are doing here is perpetuating myth. In truth, much of the Gulf coast has less polluted waters than a lot of the Caribbean coast. Some folks get confused on water quality and water clarity. They are not the same thing. You can have clear-looking water that is heavily polluted and water with less sechii visibility that is much less polluted. Indeed, much of the water off the low-populated gulf coast of the Yucatan has a higher species diversity, including biological organisms that are very susceptible to pollution. This indicates very decent water quality. Parts of the Caribbean coast, including around Cancun, have water quality inferior to much of Yucatan's Gulf coast. To state that the beaches along the Gulf are highly polluted is an over-generalization that is plumb wrong.

Wild Bill
http://www.drennon.org/yucatan
Merida/Uaymitun Yucatan

(This post was edited by tonyburton on Feb 14, 2007, 9:13 AM)


Bloviator

Feb 13, 2007, 12:28 PM

Post #3 of 28 (12664 views)

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Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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I'm glad to hear that. I was surprised to read that they were polluted when this discussion came up before. They are beautiful. Can't say the same for some of the cities along the coast though.


(This post was edited by tonyburton on Feb 14, 2007, 9:13 AM)


wildbill

Feb 13, 2007, 12:52 PM

Post #4 of 28 (12659 views)

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Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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That is true about the cities. I bought a beach house away from the cities. It is very nice there. (Uaymitun)
In the summer, there is even decent snorkeling. In the winter the shallow near-shore waters get stirred up quite a bit from the Nortes and constant off-shore winds.
Wild Bill
http://www.drennon.org/yucatan
Merida/Uaymitun Yucatan

(This post was edited by tonyburton on Feb 14, 2007, 9:13 AM)


Bubba

Feb 13, 2007, 2:47 PM

Post #5 of 28 (12648 views)

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Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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Wildbill is dead wrong. The Gulf waters along the northern Yucatán shores are among the most polluted waters in Mexico and it is a disservice to mislead people into thinking otherwise. The Gulf beaches from Campeche all the way to the Tamualipas coast are ugly brown stretches of sand with murky, normally polluted and unattractive water but the pollution of the water is especially atrocious along the northern Yucatan beaches from Isla Holbox to Celestun. To claim otherwise is irresponsible in the extreme.

Anyone with any knowledge of turbity knows that water murkiness is not a measure of water cleanliness. The Gulf of Mexico waters are murky and unattractive all the way from the western shore of Mobile Bay to Puerto Progreso, Yucatan but are splendidly clear and sparkling from the eastern shore of Mobile Bay to Panama City. The clearest water will kill your ass if Aunt Bess´s unprocessed turds are floating in it. Get serious.


(This post was edited by tonyburton on Feb 14, 2007, 9:13 AM)


wildbill

Feb 13, 2007, 3:45 PM

Post #6 of 28 (12639 views)

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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
http://www.drennon.org/yucatan
Merida/Uaymitun Yucatan

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


yucatandreamer


Feb 13, 2007, 4:03 PM

Post #7 of 28 (12635 views)

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Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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http://www.semarnat.gob.mx/informacionambiental/Pages/playas.aspx The previous link reports various coliform counts at various times during the year by the Mexican government. Probably you will not discover that a place has been polluted until too late. You can of course research areas that have had pollution in the past.


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


yucatandreamer


Feb 13, 2007, 4:40 PM

Post #8 of 28 (12627 views)

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Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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I don't know much about the water conditions, pollution etc. in the Gulf around the Yucatan coast, nor do I care. I hardly ever go swimming, but when I do, I don't worry about it. What I want to know is why almost all the homes on the Yucatan coast have swimming pools ?!!!!!!! Seems like a lot of expense when a plunge in the Gulf is at their doorstep (in some cases, quite literally).
Yucatan Dreamer's husband


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


Bubba

Feb 13, 2007, 7:31 PM

Post #9 of 28 (12612 views)

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Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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WildBill:

You either did not read my post or you read it in a huff and failed to comprehend it.

My post regarding the pollution of waters off of the coast of Yucatán from Isla Holbox to Celestun, or more accurately, Progreso, was based on reputable newspaper reports based, in turn, on research into levels of e-coli bacteria in waters all around Mexico by the Comités de Playas Limpias which reported that the most polluted body of water in all of coastal Mexico was the beautiful Chetumal Bay and close behind that the seemingly pristine but filthy shores along the Gulf of Mexico coast from around Isla Holbox to around Progreso.

Two of my previous favorite places to swim, coastal inlets on or near the south end of the Bay of Banderas on the Pacific coast , known respectively as Mismaloya Cove and Boca de Tomitlan, were found to be utterly filthy with e-coli that will kill your ass dead or make you so sick you would wish that upon yourself.. The water is crystal clear in both places.

Why would you be defensive about accepting that this coastal band in Yucatán has filthy water? The water off the coast of Cancun was found to be pristine because of advanced sewage disposal techniques. Obviously, Gringo guts (read: MONEY) are more valuable than Mexican guts.

Hell, I live right on Lake Chapala Talk about a filthy craphole.


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


wildbill

Feb 13, 2007, 10:47 PM

Post #10 of 28 (12589 views)

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Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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Yucatan Dreamer and Bubba,

I am aware of the colorform reports of Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales. Also, please be aware that I am not in a huff and I certainly agree with the water of Mismaloya and also around Aculpoco. I am also aware of the many posts from folks who assume that the Gulf waters on the North Gulf Coast are polluted. I am aware of the controversy between physical geologitsts, microbiologists, and biologists and environmental scientists on the correct way of determining the health of coastal waters.

I have studied the water quality in grad school along the Chattahoochee River in Georgia and the coastal waters of Florida. I will not tell you why I disagree with your generalization of Norht Yucatan waters.

When I was on the Environmental Quality Control Board in Broward County, FL, I am aware of coliform studies as well as CFCs. Sampling locations make a big difference. For example, samplngs taken near Hillsborough Inlet and Port Everglades had high coliform counts particularly after rains. There were also high chloroform counts around the outfall off shore and high concentrations of worms and other organizations, also indicating pollution. Yet samplings around Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and Sea Ranch Lakes, well between the inlets had low coliform counts. Also, as the linear distance from the sewage outlets increased, the coliform count decreased geometrically. Thus where the sampling takes place and when the sampling takes place can cause much different results.

CFCs (Chloro-fluorocarbons) are non-soluble pollutants that settle in the bottom settlements. The and other non-soluable organics are devastating to the food chain. Yet, you can take a bottom samplings from the same area, finding no CFCs in some samples and many in other samplings.

Basing health of water on coliform counts alone is like assuming that we are going into an ice age due to the freezing weather presently in the midwest.

In the study along the Chattahoochee where the water is continually flowing, the coliform count was very high below Atlanta and it ebbed and flowed in value as the river journeyed on its path to join the Apalachicola and ultimately the Gulf. One thing of interest was that as the coliform count decreased, the species diversity consequently increased. Also as the cleaner water passed through Atlanta, it picked up the nutrients to give the same high counts below the city as the previous batch of water had done.

Now comes the controversy. What measurements best determine whether or not water is polluted? The physical chemist says that only chemical analysis is reliable. One must have hard data. Obviously, though, water samples do not show the important insolubles. They are however more uniform over a greater range than coliform bacteria. Government agencies prefer coliform samples because it is easy to take and get quantitative readings, even though just down the coast the readings could be very different.

However, most environmental biologists say that a measure of species diversity, along with presence or absence or presence of indicator species is the best way to determine if a body of water is polluted. Unlike the rise and fall of coliform counts with location and time, species diversity is a measure of overall health.... in the same way that we make climate averages give more reliable information than a given days temperature. Certain species, especially those which are not highly mobile, can not live in areas where high coliform counts are sustained. Any given habitat will sustain a given biomass no matter what the conditions if not too bad. However, the less polluted the water overall, the greater the diversity.

Walk the beaches in many areas of the north Yucatan shore and count the huge diversity of mollusk shells. Snorkel the waters as I have done and get acquainted with the species diversity of fish and invertebrates. It is indeed a healthy environment. Look at the pictures at http://www.drennon.org/yucatan/pictures.html. I don't think you would call the waters brown.. not pristine clear, but not murky brown. It is silt-laden at ties, but we know about that.

I would not swim nor buy a beach house near the inlet at Yucalpaten and Progreso. I do think the detritus laden water coming out of that inlet is good overall for the gulf, providing much protein for the food chain in the form of Mangrove detritus. That detritus will maginfy protein many times as it is colonized and recolonized by bacteria and fungi, consumed, pooped out, recolonized, re-eaten, etc. It is the prime to the pump for the Gulf. To Carribean reef areas, zooxnthellae plays the role as it ulitized fish droppings for fertilizer and detritus for fertilizer to transform the energy of the sun into fool for the coral polyps.

Environmental science is a messy science. However, I feel confident in the quality of water in much of the gulf.. after several years of research. Otherwise, I would not have bought there. What I found out after moving there was a quality of water better than I had originally thought. I see many unfounded and unchallenged comments on the web from people like those on cruise ship boards that see the water off Progreso after the super clear water in Cozumel of Costa Maya and post about the gross water along the Gulf shore and shake my head. However, i think blanket statements calling the gulf coast utterly filthy is unhelpful to the general public.

On the other hand.. go ahead. Maybe it will keep our stretch of beach unpopulated and keep it nice.
Wild Bill
http://www.drennon.org/yucatan
Merida/Uaymitun Yucatan

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


sfmacaws


Feb 13, 2007, 11:31 PM

Post #11 of 28 (12585 views)

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Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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Wild Bill wrote:


Quote
Parts of the Caribbean coast, including around Cancun, have water quality inferior to much of Yucatan's Gulf coast. To state that the beaches along the Gulf are highly polluted is an over-generalization that is plumb wrong.


I'd say your statement above is "plumb wrong" as well. There is no question that Yucatan along with Tabasco and Veracruz states have a long ways to go in waste treatment to catch up with Quintana Roo. It's nice to talk about diversity of life in the sea but I don't think you'll find less diversity in the Caribbean and I also think most people are concerned about fecal waste and whether they will get sick swimming in it. I'm more inclined to listen to the chemists for that info.

**I'm editing this to qualify my statement above about QRoo being ahead in waste treatment. That's not true of the whole state and where it is true, the Cancun/Playa corridor, it is because of the tourist money. In effect though, it is good for this coast, this ocean and the people that come here.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




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


Bubba

Feb 14, 2007, 5:49 AM

Post #12 of 28 (12571 views)

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Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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I see many unfounded and unchallenged comments on the web from people like those on cruise ship boards that see the water off Progreso after the super clear water in Cozumel of Costa Maya and post about the gross water along the Gulf shore and shake my head. However, i think blanket statements calling the gulf coast utterly filthy is unhelpful to the general public.

Wild Bill:

Just for the record, I grew up in the 40s and 50s spending my summers on the crystal clear waters of the Gulf at Destin, Florida. Some of the most beautiful waters in the world flow through the east pass of Choctawhatchee Bay there and I still remember my mama telling me how it was OK to flush our untreated human waste in that extraordinary sea because it was so big it just cleaned itself right up. Then, after retirement I moved on to Mismaloya and Boca de Tomitlan where I used to swim in the clear waters there. Never were there any posted warnings at those beaches and I only found out the waters there were considered filthy when reading of Mexican environmental studies published in the Guadalajara press. I sure as hell don´t swim in those places anymore.

I have no illusions that the clarity of coastal waters denotes cleanliness.

It happens that I am very fond of the region from Isla Holbox to Celestun despite the murkiness of the waters. In fact I prefer that coastal region to the Mexican Caribbean. When we shortly move to San Cristóbal, we will be visiting that area often. However. we will not be swimming in the sea there.

However, your posting was quite interesting. Thanks for your input.


(This post was edited by tonyburton on Feb 14, 2007, 9:15 AM)


arbon

Feb 14, 2007, 7:13 AM

Post #13 of 28 (12558 views)

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Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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There are tests for salt and fresh water quality, that are of importance to human consumption/health.

There are tests for salt and fresh water quality, that are of importance to marine species health.

Then there is the self importance of humans.

By the way Cancun was chosen and designed by computer, or so I read.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



(This post was edited by tonyburton on Feb 14, 2007, 9:15 AM)


tonyburton


Feb 14, 2007, 9:10 AM

Post #14 of 28 (12542 views)

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Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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Dear Wild Bill,
Thanks for taking the time and trouble to share your professional insights with us. I'm going to disentangle this discussion of water quality from the original thread, and make it a keeper. Keep the informative posts coming! Tony


(This post was edited by tonyburton on Feb 14, 2007, 9:15 AM)


Bubba

Feb 14, 2007, 11:02 AM

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Re: [tonyburton] Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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I agree with Tony, Wild Bill. That was an erudite and well thought out posting. This also is an excellent subject for thoughtful discourse. Second only to RexC´s excellent posting on the construction forum on the importance of proper venting of plumbing - a big issue if one is building or extensively remodeling a home down here.

As I stated earlier, I´m certainly no expert on environmental issues although I am something of an expert on salmonella poisoning and thyphoid after six years living down here and some miserable personal episodes. I also realize that there are different schools of thought on the issue but I was simply reiterating information I read in Guadalajara´s MURAL newspaper that appeared sometime last spring. Since the authorities in any beach resort don´t like to post beach pollution warnings, I posted the information.

For more information as published by the Secretaria del Medio Ambiente (SEMARNAT) at www.semarnat.gob.mx and look for Programa Integral de Playas Limpias. If anyone wants to dispute them, have at it.


carlosyjosefina

Feb 14, 2007, 12:53 PM

Post #16 of 28 (12499 views)

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Re: [tonyburton] Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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I may not be a scientist but I am a member of Merida Insider where I have enjoyed wildbill's contributions for a couple of years now. I can't imagine anyone with his obvious love of nature putting himself or his children in harms way by swimming in water that is as polluted as some of you say. However, I hope you all keep the myth alive, since I also will be moving there soon and would like the beach to myself!
-josefina (doing the backstroke in Chicxulub)


wildbill

Feb 14, 2007, 4:24 PM

Post #17 of 28 (12477 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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SFmcaws, you seem to not understand the point. Perhaps, I did not articulate well enough. I will give it another try, this time with pictures.

First, I have never seen fecal matter floating in the water around Uaymitun nor in many of the more remote areas along the gulf. I have seen human fecal matter in the water around Puerto Vallarta where Bubba pointed out. I have seen it in a lot of tourist areas. In Mazatlan last summer there was a huge rainfall in August where the streets were so flooded that Taxis could not run. I saw rats standing in window ledges, and all sorts of junk and oil slicks running into the ocean. THere was no way I was going to put my toe in the water there for the rest of that week!

Also, please, I am not advocating that Cancun is unsafe, just that I believe the coastal waters off Uaymitun along Yucatan's north shore is cleaner and safer for human contact than Cancun. Indeed, I believe both areas are safe.

First understand that if there is species diversity in the water and if certain indicator species with low tolerance to pollution are living there, while species known for pollution tolerance, such as many Marine worms, are not there in high abundance, the water quality will be well above the legal limits and safe limits for all human activities. This is well documented. If you have these conditions of species diversity with the right mix of species, the coliform count and chemical analysis of the water will prove to be good. I believe that a species diversity count is the most reliable. However, for a government agency that would take the longest time and be the most expensive.

I have it pretty well documented off of Uaymitun because I have spent hours snorkeling and kayaking and snorkeling there from shore to about 2-3 km out. I have eaten the fish and the lobsters and the octupi from here without ever getting sick. I have never gotten sick snorkeling. I know folks who have lived here since before hurricane Gilbert, who are constantly in the water, and who have never gotten sick. Thus, I think warnings about water activities here are ludicrous.

Now for the pictures to illustrate the point. I will post below some satellite photos, but I need to explain some things before you view them.

In Uaymitun, where my house is located, there is a single row of houses. Most of these are 2nd homes belonging to professionals living in Merida or Mexico City. Most of these houses are occupied only in July and August. I can go out on the beach in May and look a mile in each direction and see no one, as a general rule. In late July, there are people all over the place and many boats anchored off shore. Come late August, it is essentially a ghost town again. There are only a handful of houses that are occupied year round. If you cross the street from the beach houses, you have a a flamingo preserve and mangroves, then miles and miles and miles of forest before you have another human habitation. Progreso is 16 km to the west, but the prevailing current along the shore comes from the east. Telchac Puerto is the next town to the east. It is around 20-30 km to the east. The single row of beach houses that make up what is called Uaymitun (a Maya name... and the name of the coconut plantation that was originally there) gets sweet water from wells. It comes up fresh and clear from filtration through the limestone. This water has been tested chemically and for fecal coliform with pristine results. I would still not drink it. (I purchase bottled water everywhere in Mexico.). I do shower in it. BTW, it is rare to have fresh water under a beach house anywhere in North America!

The beach houses have primary sewage treatment by septic tank. Most have it pumped out regularly and hauled away. Why not pay a few dollars and have them haul it over to Cancun, right? Now a little bit of math is in order here. Even if we pumped our sewage into the sea which no one does here or would want to since every house is a beach house and the beach houses are here because we want to use this bit of ocean,, but for the sake of a mathematical argument, if it was raw sewage, you have the sewage of a few hundred people. That doesn't happen. I am just saying that when you look at a satellite map of Cancun with the thousands of people there, even with the best tertiary sewage treatment, the net mass of nutrients that would seep into the sea is huge compared to the small population of an area like Uaymitun. Our worst polluters are the shore birds, each one lacking of rectum which if present would produce a heavy mass impeding flight, release flows from their cloaca on a regular basis, and the abundant fish population that pees into the sea. There are no bars here with tourists. Thus there are no groups of tourists who when intoxicated would think nothing of relieving themselves in the ocean. There are no hotels and no restaurants here.

This area is much different than the cove of trapped water which Bubba complained about in the southern edge of Puerto Vallarta with its large population, poor sewage treatment, running rivers, and heavy rainfall. It is much different than the area around Progreso and Yucalpaten with its population of around 30,000, layers of houses, poor treatment facilities and a cut from the mangrove area entering the sea.

Now, to Cancun. Not all of Cancun is in the tourist zone. There is a large population of people who live here as workers for the tourist industry. Then there are thousands of tourists. Even with the best tertiary sewage treatment, whether desined by computers or monkeys, the net flow of nutrients will be huge compared to what we could produce here, even if we ate beans all day long. In addition, rain run-off will carry a lot of oil and other chemicals into the sea. Off Uaymitun, except during July and August, it is possible to eat lunch in the middle of the street without worrying about a car coming by.

The math says that Cancun will be more polluted than Uaymitun. Now check out the photos:

UAYMITUN area:


CANCUN area:


UAYMITUN CLOSE UP:


To those who make a blanket statement that you would not swim here, I say:
1. Thanks. Keep spreading the word so others won't move here.
2. You are missing out.
3. Be aware, you are spreading uninformed inaccurate nonsence.
Wild Bill
http://www.drennon.org/yucatan
Merida/Uaymitun Yucatan


wildbill

Feb 14, 2007, 4:28 PM

Post #18 of 28 (12474 views)

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Re: [wildbill] Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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Is this brown water with fecal waste?

(picture I took from kayak of wife in water with our beach house (Vista del Delfin) in the background):



Note, it is in Uaymitun, 16 km E of Progreso. Water off the inlet south of Progreso is different as is the water off Vericruz and many other gulf locations. The point is, you can not over-generalize.

Now for Yucatan Dreamer's husband's question:
Why do we have pools if the water is so nice?
First I do indeed, like many have a pool: (form the ripples in the water, it is a windy day with the bottom sand stirred up in the gulf during the Norte season)

1. The kids like it.
2. It is nice to rinse off with fresh water.
3. On windy days in the cooler part of the year, the pool is nicer termperature-wise (We are spoiled whimps!)
4. When I am not there, I rent it out. Renters want a pool.
5. It is the only way someone like Bubba would come and visit me.
6. It is nice to hop in with neighbors and chat.
7. It looks nice.

The only thing I worry about is that the water quality may not be as nice as the gulf, though we do filter it and keep a good level of chlorine in it.

In public forum keep the dirty Gulf water myth alive, but on a private forum like this, the truth should win out.
Wild Bill
http://www.drennon.org/yucatan
Merida/Uaymitun Yucatan

(This post was edited by wildbill on Feb 14, 2007, 5:00 PM)


sfmacaws


Feb 14, 2007, 5:12 PM

Post #19 of 28 (12462 views)

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Re: [wildbill] Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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I agree with you that the numbers of people and their waste is much larger in Cancun, no question about that. I think all I was trying to say was that there are waste water treatment facilities built to pretty high standards all along this coast and that doesn't exist on the Gulf Coast. Of course, they don't need them as much either as there just aren't as many people.

Since Mérida has no central sewer it probably just sits on a large mass of fosa septica in various degrees of repair. As we have no above ground rivers over here, it all sinks into the underground water table and runs through the various cenotes to the sea. Same for all the smaller pueblos and cities on the peninsula.

You are in an enviable position of isolation along that coast and that has a lot to do with having a low bacteria count. If you were at one of those outlets from the mangroves and the underground rivers, it might be different.

What I see in Mismaloya and Chetumal Bay is that they are drainage for a larger inland area into the sea. In the case of Chetumal, there isn't enough tidal action to get it out to sea and the bay stays pretty polluted with bacteria. Mismaloya is a deep bay as well, although nothing compared to Chetumal, but it still doesn't exchange as much as open ocean.

Looking at the above site, I see that the counts go up in the rainy season which makes sense to me. Is that how you see it as well? Heavy rains clear the effluent through the underground system to the sea?

I don't think there is any sense in disputing one ocean over another on this peninsula. One should look though at what the runoff is right around where you are going in the water. I'd also look at what little documentation there is and I wouldn't swim for instance in Chetumal Bay. I've been tempted by it as we've spent time there and it is hot enough to make it look very attractive. Still, even before I saw those tests, I knew that god only knows what kind of sewage treatment the city of Chetumal has plus there are a lot of small towns all along it with no sewage treatment and that a lot of underground rivers from the interior also drain into it. There are areas around this coast, the Riviera Maya, that have the same configurations. I don't swim there either.

I've spent many years diving all along this coast and I have dove near the outflow of Chetumal Bay. It's a spectacular dive location, probably lots of food for the krill. It feels better to me in open water but that may just be wishful thinking.

My only complaint with what you've written, which by the way is extremely informative and well written, is that you seemed to generalize from your isolated area in Uaymitun to that whole Gulf Coast. Just as you can't generalize this whole Caribbean coast, there are a lot of differences on the Gulf. Luckily the Gulf does not have the stress of millions of vacationers that the Caribbean does. Even so, there are enough people in that watershed now that more should be done to protect it. Do you see that happening?


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




wildbill

Feb 14, 2007, 5:52 PM

Post #20 of 28 (12455 views)

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Re: [sfmacaws] Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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SF Mccaws. I agree with about everything in your post. Well stated.

My purpose is not to suggest that because Uaymitun has decent water that the entire Gulf coast is great. The purpose is just the opposite, to counter posts that generalize about the entire gulf coast because of a few areas. The oceans of the world are the ultimate sump. Yet, in most places the oceans do a great job in cleaning themselves up.. if the load is not too great, given enough time and distance from the source.

Progreso is a poor town without the big tourist dollar. If it wants to get the tourist dollar, it must make some drastic changes in many ways. This town and others in the Yucatan would be better off to update their sewage treatment. Fortunately, it is still small.

Someone could go to a dangerous area in New York City and make a generalization about the filth, poverty, crime, and danger of America. That would not hold uniformly so. The same is true that one should not make general statements about the Gulf because of some locations along the Gulf.

You should see the expressions of some folks near where I work in the US, by the way, when I tell them that I own a couple of homes in Mexico and that I will be living there year-round starting this summer. They look at me in horror! "Is it safe? Aren't you afraid of disease? Why would you want to do that?" There are wrong generalizations in many areas of life... not just in falsely accusing "If you live along the Gulf, you should not go in the water".
Wild Bill
http://www.drennon.org/yucatan
Merida/Uaymitun Yucatan

(This post was edited by wildbill on Feb 14, 2007, 6:01 PM)


Bubba

Feb 15, 2007, 6:34 AM

Post #21 of 28 (12429 views)

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Re: [wildbill] Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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In Uaymitun, where my house is located, there is a single row of houses. Most of these are 2nd homes belonging to professionals living in Merida or Mexico City. Most of these houses are occupied only in July and August. I can go out on the beach in May and look a mile in each direction and see no one,

I´ll attest to that. That coast from Dzilam de Bravo to around Uaymitun is so deserted most of the year it´s a bit spooky. That´s why we love to visit there. We looked around there and in Mérida for a second home but settled on San Cristóbal after driving around the peninsula and remembering our first years of marriage on the Alabama coast. While it doesn´t bother SFMcaws, after 30 years in San Francisco, we are not ready to live in that kind of sticky heat again. However, don´t get your hopes up because Chiapas is much closer to you than Jalisco so you´ll have our company during the off season which, as you say, is about ten months out of the year.

I think the water in your area is quite attractive as opposed to most of the Gulf in Mexico. However, Bubba grew up in hurricane country ( even considered retiring in Bay St. Louis before Katrina) and now seeks out highlands. To each his own. Your place looks very nice, though. I´ll wave when I drive by in the next off season.


Bubba

Feb 15, 2007, 5:24 PM

Post #22 of 28 (12382 views)

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Re: [wildbill] Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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Wildbill:

I am fascinated by your description of your town.. In a week we go back to San Cristóbal to work on our new house and will have some free time after meeting our architects. We are planning to drive to Merida and, perhaps, the Uayintun area sometime in March. We would like to rent a beach house there for about a week. Just the two of us. A small place on the beach would be fine. Any ideas?

Ajijic, Jalisco and San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas



(This post was edited by tonyburton on Feb 16, 2007, 1:13 PM)


wildbill

Feb 16, 2007, 11:42 AM

Post #23 of 28 (12356 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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Bubba,

My house is booked solid until the last week in April. My neighbor rents his house out, but it is also solidly booked in March. I am out of country right now, but will return March 31. However, we will be staying at our Merida house since our beach house is booked up.

Most folks don't rent their houses out, using it on some weekends and June-July. I know of no one that uses their house year-round. One of the most interesting houses is owned by the "President of Burger King" (I assume of the Mexico division?). Anyway, he has a huge home with a mini-burger king inside his house for his relatives when they visit! It is a huge property. I have met several home-owners in Uaymitun this past summer who are owners of Cancun Hotels and CE0s of resorts in Cancun. I guess they prefer to swim in the Gulf!

Bill
Wild Bill
http://www.drennon.org/yucatan
Merida/Uaymitun Yucatan


roni_smith


Feb 16, 2007, 2:27 PM

Post #24 of 28 (12337 views)

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Re: [wildbill] Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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Here is what I have gotten out of the discussion so far:

WildBill has a purty wife.
------
Planning for Mexico Move Blog



smokesilver

Feb 16, 2007, 7:14 PM

Post #25 of 28 (12320 views)

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Re: [Bubba] Are the Gulf coast beaches polluted?

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Aren't you glad that you did not retire to Bay Saint Louis?
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