Veracruz is the state with the most sewage flowing into the ocean, more that 15,000 liters per second (4,000 gallons per second), and its beaches are the most contaminated in the country, complained Deputy Elizabeth Vargas Martín del Campo, secretary of the Tourism Commission.
It is necessary for the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) to report on the health status of Mexican beaches, before each vacation period.
The main beach at Zihuatanejo, in Guerrero, is the only one in Mexico that is unfit for recreational use, due to the quantity of bacteria in the water (399 per 100 millilters), which is a health risk for the people, according to a study from Semarnat.
In April, 2014, the government took 369 water samples in 269 public beaches to detect the quantity of E. coli bacteria. This microorganism is an indicator of the quality of the health conditions of the sea water, as it lives and grows in adverse conditions.
Among the 25 most contaminated beaches, according to the testing, was Zihuatanejo, Guerrero: 399 bacterias per 100mL, Hornos en Acapulco, Guerrero: 124; La Madera, Zihuatanejo, Guerrero: 114, and Varadero in Ixtapa, Guerrero: 106 bacteria per 100mL.
Las Gatas in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero: 104; Chicxulub in Progreso, Yucatán: 83; La Ropa in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero: 73; Maviri in Los Mochis, Sinaloa: 71; Lancheros in Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo: 66, and Marinero in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca: 64 per 100mL.
The legislator warned that in Mexico only 40.2% of sewage is treated and “meanwhile the public politicians are passive in light of the necessity to increase this percentage. Every second, 33,000 gallons of raw sewage flows into the watersheds.”
There are 154 municipalities along the coast, and only half of them have a sewage treatment plant. However, of the 77 municipalities which treat their sewage, not all of the treat 100%. As an example, Campeche treats 19% of its sewage and Yucatán 4.4%.
[Fulano’s comment: United States clean water standards classify a beach as unfit for human use when the e. coli count exceeds 35 per 100 milliliters. Using that standard, all the beaches listed in the article would be closed to human use.]