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AMLO: Save Tulum's Sacred Waters

Updated: Nov 13, 2021

Tulum is often referred to as the diamanté or diamond of the Caribbean and the Jewel of the Crown of Mexico’s booming tourist industry. Home to miles of pristine beaches, stunning hotels, exotic wildlife, and the world’s largest underground river system, people worldwide come to experience this trendy, tropical haven.

Businesses & Organizations

Everyone who loves Tulum petition

Growing Pains

Despite Tulum's many virtues, its ecosystem is being destroyed. In fact, the state in which Tulum is located, Quintana Roo, creates more waste per capita than any other region in Mexico. The average Mexican resident produces one kilogram of garbage per day, while in Tulum and its surrounding area, residents produce an average of two-and-a-half to three kilograms everyday.

Tulum’s urban infrastructure was built to support about 7,000 people more than a decade ago, but Tulum now has a local population of around 37,000, hosts more than two million tourists per year, and has the highest population growth (6%) in all of Mexico. Because of the lack of infrastructure, hotels dump their sewage directly into Tulum’s freshwater aquifer or the sea, and most are entirely powered by diesel generators. With no facilities to process the trash, the jungle just next to the city is now hosting an overflowing massive landfill that includes recyclables and compostable waste.

Tulum has become a hotspot for development, yet real estate companies in the city have failed to follow through on promises of sustainable practices. The lack of effective regulation has caused construction to spiral out of control with 367 illegal developments permitted during the previous administration.

This once sleepy village seems to be on the same path as Cancun and Playa Del Carmen — cities just north of Tulum that have both failed to preserve their environment.

The Dark and Dirty Secret

A recent viral video showed a Tulum wastewater truck dumping untreated wastewater into the jungle. It was subsequently revealed that three of Tulum’s four sewage treatment plants have been inoperable for a year. An estimated hundred of thousand liters of wastewater are being dumped into the soil everyday. This, along with inadequate and inefficient infrastructure for the fast growing population of Tulum, has caused a severe strain on our resources and environment that will be irreversible if action isn’t urgently taken.

Tulum is situated on the largest underground river system in the world. This underground network is the vascular system of the entire Yucatan peninsula. Ground contamination is absorbed into this system, and carried downstream — to the water in our homes, to the local produce we eat, into our oceans, and even into the air our families breathe.

Furthermore, the Mesoamerican reef that protects the Yucatan peninsula from deadly and devastating weather – the second largest reef in the world – is dying. Because of the ongoing contamination, 40 percent of the reef is no longer alive. If this progresses, unbridled storms could regularly decimate the peninsula, potentially crippling more than 40% of the country’s tourism industry.

If the wastewater dumping continues, it could have a devastating effect on Tulum’s economy, ecosystem and wildlife, and the health of Tulum’s families and children.

Act Now

As a first step to address this critical situation, we are asking business owners, local leaders, and everyday heroes like you to stand with us to save Tulum’s sacred waters. We are sending an open letter to Mexico’s President – Andrés Manuel López Obrador – asking him to allocate funds to save Tulum’s ecology and economy. Tulum needs funds to resuscitate its water treatment plants, clean up landfill and the garbage piles in the jungle, and implement a waste management master plan that includes community monitoring and regenerative incentives.

Tulum has given so much and now it needs our help. Can we count on your support to help us save this magical land? Our intention is to save Tulum's sacred waters and keep Tulum's ecosystems, communities and businesses healthy and thriving.

Businesses & Organizations

We are asking businesses and organizations to endorse our open letter to President Andres Manuel Lopez. Please let us know that we can add your organization to the list of endorsers by filling out this form:


We are asking everyone to endorse and share our petition!

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