By: Yessica Morales, Editorial Staff
For almost a decade, citizen organizations have been denouncing the degradation of the wetlands that provide 70% of the water used in the city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, located in southern Mexico.
The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) communicated that on May 9, 2022, the meeting was held for the Critical Habitat Internal Working Group for the mountain wetlands of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, for the purpose of coordinating the actions of the three levels of government for protecting the Kisst and María Eugenia Wetlands.
In said meeting, they established agreements fundamental for defense of the wetlands, among which the announcement of a protection and vigilance strategy stood out, as well as another one of conscientization and sensitization for working together with the inhabitants in the conservation of these important ecosystems.
During the session, Agustín Ávila Romero, General Director of Politics for Climate Change and in charge of the general direction of the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change, pointed out that: “the wetlands are a key ecosystem in the fight against climate change.”
Likewise, I make clear the importance of these areas as subsistence habitats for species endemic to Mexico, such as the popoyote fish. An endemic species, whose distribution is limited to the basin of said municipality and in nearby rivers, is small (around 6 to 13 centimeters), a species in danger of extinction by official Mexican standards.
Representatives of the San Cristóbal de Las Casas districts (colonias) and members of academic institutions like the Autonomous University of Chiapas (UNACH), Intercultural University of Chiapas (UNICH), Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM), College of the Southern Border (ECOSUR) and the Autonomous University of Chapingo (UACh) participated in the meeting.
Those mentioned above, agreed to promote a popular environmental plan that allows contributing to the education and training of guardians of the wetlands in that municipality in the Chiapas Highlands, through the sum of efforts between communities and authorities.
They had the participation of representatives of different bodies like the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC), the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA), the National Commission for Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) and the National Water Commission (CONAGUA), the Attorney General of the Republic (FGR) and the National Guard (GN) in the installation of the group.
María del Rosario Bonifaz, Secretary of Environment and Natural History participated for the Chiapas government (SEMAHN), as well as Mariano Alberto Díaz Ochoa, municipal president, for the government of San Cristóbal.
Water is life, not a commodity
It’s appropriate to remember that, the “I prefer water and health” campaign commemorated last May 3, Holy Cross Day, in gratitude for water and to recognize it as an element that transcends people’s lives, as well as every living being on the planet.
The vital liquid is part of the body, food and the common house. That’s why, through a manifesto they indicated that water is life and is sacred, and is not a commodity, therefore water has the right to flow clean and free through its natural channels, as well as being a resource for all living beings.
In the case of the mountain wetlands, they pointed out that since they are fragile ecosystems, refilling them is ecocide. Along with the Jovel Valley’s hills, rivers and springs, they are considered as their home; for that reason, both citizens, rulers and institutions are obliged to protect them.
We are polluting the water in this city, let’s look for solutions to clean it up with efficient and viable eco-techniques. Excessive extraction of water is drying up the deep wells, it is inadmissible to permit irresponsible concessions. The corresponding authorities must respect the international mandate of the human right to safe drinking water and to sanitation, they explained in the manifesto.
Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo, Tuesday, May 10, 2022, https://www.chiapasparalelo.com/noticias/chiapas/2022/05/instalan-grupo-de-trabajo-interno-de-habitat-critico-de-los-humedales-de-montana/#:~:text=Instalan%20grupo%20de%20trabajo%20interno%20de%20h%C3%A1bitat%20cr%C3%ADtico0de%20los%20humedales%20de%20monta%C3%B1a,-Por%20Redacci%C3%B3n%20Yessica&text=Desde%20hace%20casi%20una%20d%C3%A9cada,ubicado%20al%20sur%20de%20M%C3%A9xico. and Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee