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Environmental challenges

Environmental efforts in Mexico haven't yet obtained the expected results; we're still in time for a course correction
Environmental challenges
Polluted beach - File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
17/12/2017
08:54
Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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In an ideal situation, every one of us would care for the environment under the conviction that caring for our planet is the key to our well-being and health, and our contribution to the legacy to future generations. However, given the overall lack of interest and knowledge in the matter, environmental protection is the responsibility of the Government and civil organizations.

Public administration has created a series of laws and institutions which have the objective of protecting and monitoring the biodiversity of Mexico. Nevertheless, results haven't been ideal.

During an interview presented today by EL UNIVERSAL, Julia Carabias, former Minister of the Environment, shares with us her detailed assessment of the current environmental status of our country – which isn't all that positive.

To start with, one of the issues which has drawn the attention of the international community is the protection and preservation of the vaquita porpoise – an endangered species which only inhabits Mexican seas. Ms. Carabias considers it wasn't the rescue efforts which were too late, rather, the fishing ban which was imposed on the Gulf of California, reason why the illegal fishing of Totoaba affected the vaquita population.

Another weak front mentioned by the expert is related to environmental activists. Threats are a constant occurrence in their day-to-day, they are vulnerable in their task of protecting the environment and have only their words to face the very powerful political and economic interests.

Regarding Mexico's Federal Agency for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) – an institution which has the powers and authority to criminally prosecute environmental cases – the situation isn't faring any better. The culture of environmental protection was born late in Mexico and fewer resources are allocated for this purposes with each budget review. This renders the organization unable to adequately fulfill its responsibilities.

In the midst of international commitments to fight climate change, high pollution levels in Mexico City, and the moral duty to protect endangered species, the diagnosis of an expert's voice is vital in assessing Mexico's efforts in environmental issues and correct what is currently not working.

The issues to be improved are clear: more human resources, a solid budget, and compliance with the rule of law.

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