26 marzo, 2023

Ambiguous and shallow Federal Environment Protection Agency report on Balandra and Playa El Hongo Eco-disaster


Regarding the yacht that burned down in the waters of the Gulf of Cortez, which affected El Hongo beach in the Balandra area, in South Baja California, causing a spill of diesel and other hydrocarbons, which caused huge harm in the area, federal authorities issued a very superficial report, minimizing the damages and environmental impact.

After reading the official report, the most obvious conclusion is that they have not found superficial damage so far, in a very superficial search, and it is most likely that that the damage in the mid and long terms cannot yet be determined with certainty.

However, unofficial information circulating on social media, tells about a severe environmental impact in a large area of ​​Balandra, the official report is ambiguous, but it can be read between the lines that there is still much work to do and a lot to investigate in order to determine the real amount of damage.

Who should cover the damages caused by a private yacht? Who is the owner of the burned yacht? Did he have an insurance policy? Because, once the damages are accounted for, somebody has to pay for the corrective measures, and the most probable is that the Government will have to pay for a private citizen´s accountability in the ecological devastation caused by the fire.

Below is the SEMARNAT (Environmental Protection federal agency) press release, which has been literally translated so you can see how complex and ambiguous the information they issued regarding this sorrowful ecocide is.

“The Secretary of the Environment (SEMARNAT) carried out a census of fish and invertebrates in three rocky points of the APFF Balandra, as well as in the mushroom beach and the rocky area to identify the species present in these places, working in coordination with the Department Academic of Marine and Coastal Sciences of the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur, Conanp began biological monitoring and water quality tasks under the Promares methodology”

“The 29 species of fish and 15 invertebrates recorded in the area had no changes in abundance and size structure, nor mortality nor any abnormal behavior. Only on the surface of the sea were small hydrocarbon spots observed in Balandra Bay, Gaviota Island and San Rafaelito Islet, which were not detected in the reef fauna that lives between 1 and 6 meters deep.

“Furthermore, personnel from the Protected Natural Area (ANP), from the National Water Commission (Conagua) and from a company certified in the analysis of water with hydrocarbons, took samples at four sites (yacht sinking, mushroom beach, Balandra A beach). and Tecolote sur) to monitor the liquid and be able to carry out its physicochemical and microbiological analysis, which will allow detecting the presence of hydrocarbons.”

“We will work together with the Academic Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences of the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur to carry out a technical opinion on the damage assessment of the marine area, with the aim of strengthening the actions of the restoration and monitoring strategy of the area”.

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