By: Angélica Enciso L.
In the construction and effectuation of the first phase of the Maya Train there are 130 adverse environmental impacts, although most of them have mitigation measures, Fonatur  pointed out in the environmental impact assessment (EIS) that it presented for evaluation to the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources. In its operation, it will emit almost 431,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year because of diesel combustion, equivalent to 125,000 automobile emissions.
In the document of around 2,000 pages it indicates that the investment required for this phase is 44 billion 281 million pesos from public resources. The work is expected to begin next October; there will be three years of construction, so that in November 2023 it will start to operate. Its useful life is 50 years, although with maintenance it would be longer.
Phase 1 of the Maya Train, with an extension of 631 kilometers, is in the states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche and Yucatán and will interconnect the principle cities and tourist sites on the peninsula.
This stage includes 13 stations and a medium-speed diesel traction train, although it would later be mixed (diesel and electric). It estimates air emissions of 431,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year for the consumption of 166 million liters of fuel.
The EIS indicates that the principle environmental impacts will be present in the site preparation and construction stage, due to the cutting and cleaning of the site, which will elevate particulate emissions. It recognizes that, for example, reduction of forest cover decreases habitable surface for the fauna, could give rise to habitat fragmentation and would affect biological corridors. The document outlines 40 wildlife passages.
From the existing vegetation in the project’s route, It anticipates that 6,637 trees will be removed, as well as 2,691 bushes and 1,700 from the herbaceous layer. It adds that the area’s landscape will be modified.
The document describes that the Regional Environmental System in the Maya Jungle has an extension of 100,000 square kilometers, where approximately 7 percent of the planet’s species and around 5.7 percent of the vertebrates are sheltered; “approximately 75 percent of its vegetation cover has been lost in recent decades due to deforestation, a process that continues to this date.”
It says that there is a tendency towards a loss of ecosystems, although there are areas of environmental importance decreed for the conservation of sensitive communities and ecosystems as part of the national strategy to conserve biodiversity.
It assures that the project will not cause environmental impacts that produce imbalances “that will affect the existence of man and other living beings, the integrity and continuity of ecosystems and environmental services.”
 Fonatur is the Spanish acronym for the National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Monday, June 22, 2020
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee