Hydrocarbons, pesticides and microplastics are the main pollutants in the Gulf of Mexico, and affect the functioning of important ecosystems such as corals, mangroves, wetlands and seagrasses, in addition to commercial fisheries and the economy of riparian inhabitants.
Biological, microbiological, metals, metalloids and biphenyls also contribute to this situation, warned Alfonso Vázquez Botello, researcher at the Institute of Marine Sciences and Limnology (ICMyL) of the UNAM.
This ocean basin, contained between the coasts of Mexico, the United States and Cuba, is unique in the country: physical, chemical, biological and geological processes converge there that give it unique characteristics and make it a highly dynamic sea.
The Gulf of Mexico conforms coasts, seas, rivers, wetlands and lagoons that make it a site of vital importance for our nation, added the biologist, master in marine biology and doctor in chemical oceanography.
It is estimated that 90 percent of the rivers that flow into it are highly polluted; Pesticides seriously affect its coasts, while the most serious pollutants for its seas and coastlines are hydrocarbons from petroleum.
On its coasts, located in the states of Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Tabasco, Campeche and Yucatán, more than 35 percent of the country's inhabitants settle. "This gives it great social, economic, agricultural, fishing, oil, energy, industrial, mining and commercial importance," said the university student.
The researcher said that as a result of these activities, industrial and port-industrial waste, urban discharges, as well as mining, oil and agricultural waste, have introduced large volumes and a variety of pollutants into their waters.
"Extractive, urban and industrial processes have increased dramatically in the last 20 years, affecting the ecology and productivity of this ecosystem."
Oil extraction in the area is the cause of serious environmental pollution, gigantic oil spills and the release of energy.