Golf Courses Included in Ban on Further Mexican Island Development

By | October 11th, 2018

New federal regulations prohibit construction of courses, as well as new large hotels or airstrips, as part of a program designed to stem further growth and protect the fragile environment on Isla Holbox, a small island off the northern coast of the Yucatan peninsula. The management program established by the Natural Protected Areas Commission also prohibits the dumping of wastewater into the surrounding sea and prohibits visitors from bringing throwaway plastics onto the island.

The Mexican government has issued new federal regulations banning the construction of any golf courses, large new hotels or airstrips on Isla Holbox, a small island off the northern coast of the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico News Daily reported.

The Yum Balam management program, published by the Natural Protected Areas Commission (Conanp), also prohibits the dumping of wastewater into the surrounding sea and prohibits visitors from bringing any throwaway plastics with them, the News Daily reported.

Holbox has suffered from a range of problems in recent years due to aging infrastructure and unauthorized development, the News Daily reported, and the island’s sewage system has struggled to cope with the pressures placed on it by a growing population.

Conanp chief Alejandro del Mazo Maza said that the Yum Balam program, named after the biosphere reserve to which Holbox belongs, will guarantee that future development is sustainable and that the island’s biodiversity is protected, the News Daily reported.

Beaches on Holbox are used by sea turtles to lay eggs and its surrounding waters are important feeding grounds for whale sharks, stingrays and other marine species, the News Daily reported. Jaguars, howler and spider monkeys and flamingos are among other species that live on the island.

“This management program seeks to avoid disorderly urban development, new population centers, deforestation, changes to land use, the accumulation of rubbish, the introduction of exotic species that become invasive or feral, and the contamination of the sea, land and aquifers that place residents, ecosystems and native species of this natural protected area at risk,” Conanp said in a statement.

In addition to banning disposable plastic products, the plan also prohibits disposable containers made out of polystyrene or any other non-biodegradable materials from being taken on to Holbox, the News Daily reported.

Federal Environment Secretary Rafael Pacchiano Alamán described the new management program as something that is owed to Mexico and “above all a commitment to the world,” the News Daily reported. The Mexican government has now implemented 48 management plans for natural protected areas, increasing the total number of plans in place across the country to 114, he added.

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