the REAL danger

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Posted by ZihuaRob from ( on sábado, diciembre 13, 2003 at 13:26:47 :

In Reply to: Water Contamination in Zihuatanejo posted by Bill from ( on sábado, diciembre 13, 2003 at 11:13:21 :

The real danger to our bay's health is not corrupt politicians, incompetent bureaucrats, greedy commercial interests or uneducated locals; though all of the above certainly exacerbate the problems. The REAL AND PRESENT DANGER comes from the pressure presented by tourists wanting to visit here. The demand for services that each visitor and newcomer represents is what is not only killing our flora and fauna, but an entire way of life.

Those who find the previous statement offensive are missing the point. I guess it can best be summed up by my new favorite saying:

"If we don't have it, please don't ask for it."

Being a good host means providing for the comforts of one's guest, which by their very nature the locals of Zihuatanejo are inclined to do. Conversely, being a good guest means not imposing oneself on their host. That's where all you visitors come in and where you can help; that is, if you truly love Zihuatanejo and her people.

The creation of and dependency on a tourism-based economy attracts not only visitors demanding services that were mostly non-existent or very limited previously, but also an endless influx of many jobseekers among other new residents. The inability of the local community and its infrastructure to accommodate and/or absorb those newcomers creates conditions that endanger the very future of what it was that once made the community and its surroundings so attractive. Tourism itself is the root of the problem.

Previously the tourists who came here were attracted by the simplicity of everything. From the stark lodgings with the barest of necessities and often lacking electricity and constant running water (almost nobody had hot water heaters), to the lack of development, to the dirt paths and roads and having to walk everywhere since there were almost no taxis, to the lack of hype and hustle, to the adventure of getting here itself (often a multi-day affair with minimal creature comforts).

But because people are buying (i.e., tourists) there are more and more people trying to sell something (i.e., entrepreneurs) and a vicious cycle begins. Demand exceeds capacity to provide and growth exceeds ability to cope. And a LOT of people end up trying to sell you things that were unavailable here before (expensive meals, time shares, luxury and imported goods, vices, themselves).

So now trees are being cut (so much for the "ecological zone"), animals killed and displaced (when was the last time you saw a flock of wild macaws in Zihuatanejo?), soil dug and cemented over, waterways and wetlands diverted or buried or overpumped, precious resources diverted (gotta water those lawns, gardens and golf courses in Ixtapa!), and the snowball effect all of those present to the bay and the increasingly outnumbered locally born population and its culture.

We have the jetty at Puerto Mio blocking the circulation of currents in our bay and increasing the pollution problem.

We have several new large developments at La Ropa although we already can't provide services for the existing developments.

We have restaurants on Isla Ixtapa (among others) with prices that rival some of the haughtiest restaurants on Miami Beach! (Can you say "price-gouging"? Sure, thought you could.)

We have taxi drivers who don't know their way around. Just the day before yesterday I had to tell the taxi driver where the Hotel Avila was on the waterfront in downtown Zihuatanejo. Things like that happen all the time nowadays.

And NOW we have motorized vehicles driving on the beach in Ixtapa! Gee, thanks a friggin' lot for providing THAT service, amigo! The wave runners, jet-skis and other high-speed boats were already bad enough!

So when you see another section of formerly green hillside built with condos, hotels, luxury homes, and squatters' shacks remember the cost of tourism. Instead of asking for more for your comfort how about leaving a little more for the locals and demanding a little less service, if you get my drift. ;~)

The Paradise you save may be your own!

[Oh, and if anyone would like to start up a non-tourism dependent and environmentally friendly clean industry compatible with Zihuatanejo's mores and current infrastucture and they are willing to pay their taxes and abide by the laws, we desperately need you!]


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