State and local governments throughout Mexico are taking single-use plastic waste very seriously, including states on the Yucatan Peninsula that are home to popular tourist areas like Cancun and the Riviera Maya, which are hoping to ban single-use plastics to protect the environment and reduce plastic pollution. In fact, a variety of different measures have already been proposed or implemented in cities and towns in the states of Yucatan and Quintana Roo - including Cancun, Isla Holbox and Merida. In addition, Bahia Principe’s four expansive resort properties in the Riviera Maya have also made significant changes to how they view - and use - disposable plastic items. Read on to see more!
Mexico Plastic Bag Bans Target Single-Use Plastic Waste
The initiative to ban plastic bags and straws in Mexico’s Yucatan state - which is home to destinations like Merida and Progreso, as well as the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza and Ek Balam among others - was announced by Governor Mauricio Vila in early March. According to the measure, single-use plastic straws and bags would be eliminated in bars, restaurants and convenience stores within one year and anyone dedicated to selling them would cease within 18 months.
“Towards a Yucatan without solid waste”, Vila said. “To migrate towards a society that substitutes disposable plastic bags and straws for options that take care of the environment, such as those composted of biodegradable materials”.
The initiative in Mexico’s Yucatan state also empowers local municipalities to conduct awareness programs regarding the harms of single-use plastic pollution and its effects on the environment. Ultimately, officials hope that bars, restaurants and convenience stores will continue generating less-polluting inputs, until plastic-derived objects and utensils are completely eliminated.
Cancun Disposable Plastic Prohibition
Similarly, in the state of Quintana Roo new legislation was proposed for the prevention and integral management of solid waste - including single-use plastics - throughout the region, which is home to the thriving tourist destinations of Cancun and the Riviera Maya. The measure hopes to prohibit the use of plastic bags and straws in restaurants, hotels, bars, stores and shops, and also hopes to regulate the excessive use of other materials made from plastic in commercial establishments.
“The statistics say that in a few years, if we do not stop this excessive use of plastics, there will be more of that material than fish in the sea, and that is very unfortunate”, stated Mayor Mara Lezama of Benito Juarez. “And at home, we must reinforce these values of care for the environment”.
Quintana Roo is home to the country’s top tourist destinations and has the largest population of young people in Mexico, making it essential to promote a culture of conservation so the next generation(s) can also enjoy the exquisite natural environment and walk on the best beaches in the world.
Isla Holbox Prohibits Single-Use Plastics
Isla Holbox- which lies off the northeast coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula - has already banned the use of single-use plastics anywhere on its shores, according to the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas, including disposable containers, PET, unicel and plastic bags. The island is the first within the protected areas of Mexico to prohibit single-use plastics, but it’s a move that is ultimately expected to be implemented on all of the islands in the state of Quintana Roo, including Cozumel and Isla Mujeres.
During the high season when Isla Holbox becomes home to 5,000 people or more, 20 tons of garbage are generated daily, including many different types of plastic. According to Roberto Reynoso, who serves as head of sanitation and garbage collection on Isla Holbox, the hotel sector is responsible for generating the bulk of the island’s plastic pollution, even during the low season.
Bahia Principe Bans Plastic Cups and Straws
Finally, Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts - which operates four luxurious all-inclusive properties in Mexico’s Riviera Maya - has already stopped using disposable plastic cups and plastic straws, substituting disposable options instead. The policy will be implemented at all of its properties in the Caribbean and Spain by 2020.
“The measures are an honest reflection of our efforts to minimize the impact of our operations and reaffirm our commitment to environmental sustainability and preserving the areas in which we operate”, stated Director Antonio del Toro.
What do you think about the Mexico plastic waste bans? Tell us in the comments!
Looking for fun things to do in the Mexican Caribbean? Read 6 of the Best Places to Visit in Mexico’s Riviera Maya!