Long, white sandy beaches, azure sea, Caribbean vibes. The Mesoamerican reef stretches the entire length of Mexico’s Riviera Maya to the Yucatán Peninsula as far as the islands off the coast of Honduras. It is the largest in the Atlantic Ocean and the second longest in the world. Its small reefs, lagoons, atolls, large beds of sea grass and mangrove forests are home to more than 500 species of fish, whale sharks and countless sea turtles. But this idyllic paradise is being threatened by a danger that is invisible to tourists. The reef’s sensitive ecosystem is under an enormous burden as a result of climate change, garbage and harmful substances in wastewaters and uncontrolled tourism like the ever-increasing numbers of cruise ships and hotels.
“The reef’s sensitive ecosystem is under an enormous burden as a result of climate change, garbage and harmful substances in wastewaters...”
Plastic in particular, which is only broken down by the sun, salt and waves into extremely harmful microplastic particles but never disintegrates, is spread by the currents, entering the food chain and damaging underwater life. Active environmental protection is therefore necessary to ensure these beautiful picture-postcard beaches are preserved for our future.