Activists detained and threatened for documenting deforestation with sawdust


News Team

In a recent incident on Section 5 South of the Mayan Train, near the Aktun T’uyul cave system, activists from the Sélvame del Tren collective were detained and faced threats while documenting the indiscriminate felling of trees and the use of wood to build a viaduct on the route, transforming logs into sawdust.

The activists involved in the incident are Guillermo D’Christy, José Urbina, Talisman, and Valentina. They specialize in hydrology, cave diving, urban activism, and marine video documentaryism, respectively. The events occurred on Sunday, February 11, when they were trying to remove samples of sawdust to show that the trees had been cut down and to point out the environmental impact of the construction of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s magnum opus.

During their stay, when trying to leave the area with samples of sawdust to exhibit the transformation of the wood, security personnel from the company in charge of construction detained them, temporarily preventing their exit. The activists were informed that taking sawdust was considered a “federal crime” because the material had already been processed, unlike the felled logs, whose extraction would not pose a problem according to security personnel.

Two of the activists managed to leave from the area in another vehicle and warned about what happened, while D’Christy and Urbina were detained for a longer time. During the conflict, they were threatened, especially by a person who showed an aggressive attitude, different from that of the rest of the construction personnel. Despite this, after talking and explaining their presence at the scene, the activists were released without further setbacks.

Guillermo D’Christy documented the ecocide in Section 5. In a video, the hydrologist assured that it is an ecocide, because millions of trees were cut down without a change in the use of forest land and they were simply cut down and then to disappear “the trace of the crime” they are turning into sawdust. He reiterated that one cannot speak of “progress” when projects without environmental impact are carried out.

José Urbina expressed his desire that environmental authorities, such as the Federation of Environmental Protection Attorney General’s Office (Profepa) and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), as well as government representatives, visit the section to directly observe the situation.

The activists not only focus on actions directly related to the Mayan Train, but have also been involved in the preservation of other elements of the ecosystem, such as the cenotes. Parallel to these events, the local environmental community continues with efforts to preserve the natural environment of Quintana Roo, as demonstrated by the recent cleaning they did to the cenote “Los Aluxes” in Puerto Aventuras, carried out by volunteers from “Cenotes Urbanos”, “EcoCaribe” and “Ecobahia”.

The activists sought to notify environmental authorities such as Profepa and Semarnat about the practices that occurred in the section, asking for direct intervention in the project. Additionally, in recent expeditions they documented a cement spill in the caves of the Jaguar Claw system, evidencing the direct impact of construction on the region’s underground ecosystems.

These events also add to those of last January 30, when activists from Sélvame del Tren showed in a video the drilling carried out in the cenotes in Playa del Carmen. It was the environmentalist, José Urbina, who recorded how the structure presents cracks and even with some effort managed to detach a part of the concrete, which he said is a safety risk for travelers, since “thousands” of these structures have been placed without neoprene joints or seismic joints in the karst soil.

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Environment, World, Travel

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