Protesters demand improvements to sewage treatment, water service

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Last week’s visit by Governor Salomón Jara to Puerto Escondido gave residents and tourist service providers an opportunity to march on the streets in demand of better public services. 

Chief among the demands included in a petition addressed to the governor and various state and municipal authorities was the conclusion of work on a wastewater treatment plant to avoid further discharge of sewage on streets and beaches.

Wastewater running freely puts residents and visitors at risk of suffering gastrointestinal diseases, the protesters said.

An insufficient supply of drinking water is another concern, they explained. Despite being the third most important tourist destination in the state, Puerto Escondido presents the greatest lag in the quality of its urban infrastructure, especially its wastewater treatment plants.

Some protesters charged that previous municipal and state administrations have only carried out partial works or have tried to solve very focused problems in the short term or, in the worst case, they invest in “white elephants” with the intent of diverting public resources.

“The municipal, state and federal authorities have not shown will or long-term vision for the proper development of our Puerto,” the protesters continued. “In addition to this, in recent years, Puerto Escondido has shown an accelerated population growth, which generates additional pressure on the demand for basic services, including drinking water and sanitation.”

If all these issues are not addressed as soon as possible, conditions will only worsen in the near future with the conclusion of the Puerto Escondido-Oaxaca highway, “promised by successive governments and long awaited by citizens for more than 20 years.”

These problems are known at all levels of government, claimed the protesters. However, authorities have done nothing so far to definitively diagnose and solve them. Instead, the state government has announced millions in investment for the expansion of the Puerto Escondido airport, with the purpose of increasing the flow of tourists.

“Puerto is expected to be a first class destination,” they continued, “with a beautiful airport, when the most basic and fundamental services are not guaranteed, not even for those of us who live in town today.”

The protesters demanded immediate attention to the health emergency and lack of water rather than a modern airport, and they also demanded the formation of a working group that would include the three levels of government and a citizens’ council to address the problems.

If these demands are not met, they warned, they were ready to implement a series of mobilizations, a term that in Oaxaca means road blockades and occupying government buildings.

With reports by El Imparcial


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