Mexico protects the stunning Playa del Amor and its Pacific islands
Mexican authorities have declared a new biosphere reserve in one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, Playa del Amor. The government will formally sign a decree for the protection of this amazing natural site along with all of Mexico’s tiny islands (over 1,000 islands in total) from the menace of uncontrolled tourism.
Only a few centimetres from Punta Mita, in Mexico’s Pacific coast lays the incredible Playa del Amor, hidden away in a circular den that can only be accessed through a cave. This impressive site was only discovered recently and was rapidly acclaimed as one of the most amazing natural sites in the world; Playa del Amor even features in the list of the most beautiful beaches in the world from the February issue of British newspaper The Guardian.
Mexican government recently announced it would not only continue to protect one of its most amazing biosphere reserves, Playa del Amor, but also all of its small islands. Due to their breath-taking beauty, tourists have flocked to these stunning natural sites, causing damage and pollution. Last Easter over 3,000 people swarmed Playa del Amor daily, contaminating the reduced 690 square metre space.
The authorities were forced to close down the beach on 9th May and just re-opened it to the public on 31st August after important restoration works. According to Alejandro Del Mazo, the man in charge at Mexico’s National Committee for Protected Natural Areas the situation had reached grave danger:
“We had to close down the beach, due to massive and unorganised tourism. There were even pieces of chewing gum stuck to the coral reefs. Now we have a limit of 116 visitors a day, in groups of 15 people, and they will not be able to dive in the coral reefs.”
Playa del Amor is just one of the many natural sites that will be protected by the Mexican government. President Enrique Pena Nieto will sign a decree within this month and the next to protect each one of Mexico’s small islands (over 1,000 in total). This decree will create the new Pacific Islands of Baja California Reserve, with a group of 21 islands and its 97 keys in eight different regions: Coronado, Todos Santos, San Martín, San Benito y Cedros, San Jerónimo, Adelaida, Magdalena y Los Alijos.
This reserve will join the 941 islands in the California Gulf, that already protected by a decree since 1978. Del Mazo insists that:
“All islands will be officially under government protection by the end of 2016. We would like these beautiful biosphere reserves to be acknowledged and admired in a sustainable manner. Over 300 million tourists visit American national parks every year; Mexico only receives 3 million. We have great potential.”
However, Mexican institutions worry that these official measures won’t be enough if tourism isn’t properly controlled. As it occurred with Playa del Amor that had to be closed off to the public, despite being protected since 2005, visitors’ nasty habits and wrongful behaviour, like throwing waste onto the beach or throwing stones at the birds, needs to be stopped and all newcomers closely monitored.
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