Bay Water Quality

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Posted by ZihuaRob from ( on viernes, diciembre 12, 2003 at 17:04:39 :

In Reply to: Last Year's Sewer Problem posted by leeet from (?) on viernes, diciembre 12, 2003 at 14:53:34 :

Let's see if I can settle this without all the clueless wonders wasting our time and resources as has happened previously whenever this subject comes up. ;~)

In February of this year it was reported by a state functionary of SEMARNAT (a federal environmental regulatory agency) in an interview to a national newspaper that Zihuatanejo's bay contained excessive levels of biological contaminants, and they declared at least 1 local beach unsafe for swimming. The water sample used as the basis for this report was taken immediately after a heavy rainstorm had filled the bay with muddy water. Within 2 or 3 days the water was fresh ocean water again.

SEMARNAT took more samples later on at about 3 month intervals which gave Zihuatanejo's bay a clean bill of health and they published the results on their website, Calidad de Agua en Playas Mexicanas; however, they have since discontinued water sampling as far as I know after admitting their methods and results were flawed and unreliable.

Several local organizations, both governmental and NGO, take water samples, some with regularity and others not, though no results seem to be published anywhere and the reliability of their sampling methods must be questioned. Apparently the bay does not pose any health risk at this time, though I never recommend swimming at the beach in front of town due to the proximity to all the fishing boats and the inevitable gas and oil leaks they produce as well as the proximity of the outlets of the canal and lagoon which do contain unhealthy water.

Sensationalism has blown this problem all out of proportion. Yes, we and just about every other rapidly growing community in the world have pollution problems. And such problems never seem to receive the attention we may like, but neither are they being ignored by us locally. Thanks to the efforts of several NGO's and a few good people in different positions of government positive actions are being taken to protect the health of our bay as well as its swimmers.

You can swim safely anywhere in the bay that you like, but if you do swim near the canal or the lagoon at opposite ends of the Playa Principal in front of town you should take care to wash thoroughly with an antibacterial soap and clean your ears well. An ear infection is about the only risk you might have. Anywhere else in the bay and you're cleaner coming out of the water than you were before you got in. =)

Obviously we do not swim in the bay immediately following a rainstorm, though I have done so many times with no ill effects whatsoever, including in front of the town beach.

My wife swims in the bay almost every day (along with many other locals), and she is the picture of perfect health!

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