The water at Playa Santa is being polluted with silt and mud runoff from construction. Silt and turbidity are a major killer of coral. Beginning at Playa Santa and going west are the largest collection of healthy reefs in Puerto Rico. Construction and debris from Playa Santa, if not handled with special care, will negatively impact these reefs.
At issue; there are absolutely no steps being taken to prevent silt and mud from finding its way to the sea. The silt intrusion and total neglect of controlling it has been ongoing for years. Millions are spent on “studies” yet damage continues with impunity. A simple “stop doing that, it’s illegal” from authority is all it would really take. The laws are in place.
In the slide-show you can see the water from the entire parking area and part of the main road drain directly into the beach waters. When you swim in the bay, you might as well be rolling in the street gutter. Take a gulp of sea water while diving in, you might as well be licking that gutter too. All the residual silt and mud from this construction will find its way to the bay, to be churned into turbidity at every change of surf condition. Ignoring this is so senseless.
In the “Contrasting Water” slide show you can see the effect of mud infiltrating the bay. It is a no-brainer what is happening to the living coral.
Last year a strip of forest was cut and bulldozed in the middle of the night. The local community, appalled, asked to re-plant the area to stabilize it, with native plants, and was met with a resounding “don’t go near the stripped land, it is a crime scene!” Silt continues to wash from the stripped banks, which now includes silt from the sewer contractor.
The street street that leads to the deforested strip of coast has not been stabilized in 6 weeks! Still raw soil trench fill that continues to produce mud. The condition is exasperated by the contractor spraying water to keep the dust down….why not just finish up the street, clean it once and for all and stabilize the excavation with temporary asphalt. Minimize the silt flow. But that is just it, no one of authority seems to understand the damage being done; worse, plans, inspections and enforcement are being taken lightly. Deviate and save as much as we can, they will get over the damage, and no one will touch us…that is what it seems like.