In Mexico, the Mayan “sacred wells” threatened by the droppings of breeding pigs

Before their Christianization, the Mayans called them “sacred wells”. The “cenotes”, pools of crystal clear water dug in caves in Mexico, are today threatened by an unexpected pollution: the droppings of thousands of farmed pigs.

Several of these sinkholes, formed as a result of land subsidence, are filled with fresh water that flows into the Caribbean Sea through a multitude of channels or faults. There are a large number of them in the Mayan jungle, in the Yucatan peninsula, very popular with tourists. But it is also in this region that pig farms have been set up, whose excrements and urine flow into the soils and waters of the region.

Residents of the villages of Homun, Sitilpech, Kinchil and Chapab, in the peninsula, say that some farms, set up in hard-to-reach areas, dump untreated pig waste directly into the jungle. To this pollution, which endangers the “cenotes”, are added pestilential odors.

The United Nations Development Program analyzed the region’s water and found “strong contamination”. According to its representative in Yucatan, “a part is attributable to farms because [les échantillons] show fecal coliforms, traces of antibiotics that do not come from agriculture or urban waste “.

“We do not contaminate anything”, defended the production manager of Grupo Porcicola Mexcano Keken, the largest pig breeder in Yucatan, to AFP. From 2010 to 2020, Mexican pork production increased from 1,174,581 to 1,652,362 tonnes, due to the drop in Chinese industry due to swine flu, according to the Mexican government. China and Japan are the main recipients of Mexican pork.

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