ACAPULCO, Mexico (Reuters) – The coastline of famed Mexican beach resort Acapulco was sullied late last week by a large discharge of raw sewage, the ugly scene captured in a viral video, which has prompted local officials to promise an investigation and fix broken drains.
The video taken from a nearby balcony shows a high-pressure stream of raw sewage flowing into the water from just off of Acapulco’s Icacos Beach, possibly from a nearby busted sewer line.
The beach, which has been especially popular with Mexican tourists, is a few meters from a local hotel.
“It was very stinky and made me nauseous,” a witness who asked to remain anonymous told Reuters. The witness said the filthy discharge lasted about 25 minutes.
State environmental authorities announced Sunday that an investigation into the incident, which it said took place on June 25, has been launched and a formal complaint filed with Mexico’s federal environmental prosecutor. The agency is asking that the discharge be treated as a federal crime.
State officials said initial reports show that the discharge may have been related to a broken sewer line, potentially overflowing due to heavy rainfall in recent days which has caused flooding in several Acapulco neighborhoods.
Authorities said state officials have been dispatched to the area to clean nearby drainage channels.
Locals have complained for years of leaky sewage pipes regularly sending untreated waste into Acapulco Bay.
Reuters on Tuesday visited the site of a dark sewer leak coming from under a pedestrian bridge near another beach-front hotel off Marbella Plaza, draining into the bay where rolling waves could be seen in the distance.
Nestled on Mexico’s sun-kissed Pacific Coast, Acapulco was once a favorite getaway for Hollywood stars like Rita Hayworth and Elizabeth Taylor. But in recent years, its tourist industry has been hobbled by gangland violence that has driven away most international tourists and more recently by an acute coronavirus outbreak.
(Reporting by Uriel Sanchez; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Daniel Flynn, Lisa Shumaker and Leslie Adler)