Tourists looking to spend time in the sun, sand, and surf of La Paz during their vacation getaway over the next couple of days may want to reschedule their plans.
Local officials in the capital of Baja California Sur have restricted access to area beaches due to the impact of Hurricane Lidia’s path to the south of the peninsula and resulting unclean swimming water.
Pollution in the Ocean
The heavy rains brought by the brush with Hurricane Lidia to the south of La Paz have caused flows of pollution and other contaminants from the rivers and streams of the city onto the beaches and in the oceans of the area.
Because of this, the State Commission for Protection Against Risks (COEPRIS) has taken proactive action to restrict access to the local beaches from locals and tourists for the next couple of days to protect everyone from potential danger and disease.
Deputy Commissioner of the State Commission for Protection Against Risks in Baja California Sur René Cota Avendaño stated that it was in the best interest of everyone living in and visiting La Paz to restrict access.
His commission detected several sewage spills that flowed into the ocean and made the potential for illness significant for those entering the water.
He mentioned that five days should be plenty of time for the natural processes to clean the contaminants from the water and make the beaches suitable for local tourists once again.
The main beaches covered under the restriction are Playa La Concha, El Kiosko, Stella, El Coromuel, and Pichilingue. That’s because of their proximity to the urban streams and rivers from where the pollutants enter the beaches and ocean.
Officials Monitoring Water Conditions
While Cota Avendaño mentioned that he believed that it would be at least five days for the natural cleaning process of the ocean to remove the pollutants from La Paz beaches, local officials will be monitoring the water quality throughout the entire period.
They may open the beaches earlier for swimming or even extend the period of the closure based on the local quality testing results from individual beaches.
This is a normal response of local health officials when the area receives significant rainfall, especially during the tropical weather season.
Even though Hurricane Lidia passed well to the south of La Paz and instead impacted the area north of Puerto Vallarta in the State of Jalisco as a category four hurricane, it did create heavy rain in the La Paz area.
Area rain gauges measured anywhere from 40 millimeters of rain in El Sargento to more than double that with nearly 100 millimeters of rain in La Paz.
That causes area gutters, rivers, and streams to flow with water and carry harmful pollutants, sewage, and other contaminants directly to the ocean.
What Visitors Need to Know
Tourists should avoid the beaches and ocean around La Paz at least through Sunday, October 15 to prevent getting sick from the sewage and other pollutants in the water.
Those who do swim in the ocean in defiance of the restrictions by the local authorities may be at risk of skin and ear infections, upper respiratory tract infections, and acute diarrheal disease from the bacteria present in the water.
The key beaches covered under this health and safety restriction are Playa La Concha, El Kiosko, Stella and El Coromuel and Pichilingue in La Paz.
While the general advisory is in place until Sunday, October 15, visitors are actually recommended to stay out of the water for a couple more days after the restrictions are lifted to ensure their protection.
Generally, black flags are posted at beaches to advise the public that the beaches and ocean waters are restricted for locals and visitors due to pollution levels in the water.
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