Mexico

Bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea to the east, Mexico is rich in marine biodiversity that includes whales, dolphins, sharks, marine turtles and tropical fish. The Mesoamerican Reef, the second largest coral reef system in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, stretches for hundreds of kilometres along Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
On land, mountainous areas combine with low coastal plains and high plateaus. Here one finds such unique wildlife as: wolves, lynx, bears, jaguars, pumas, crocodiles and iguanas. Mexico is home to 8-10% of world’s terrestrial flora and fauna, including over 1,000 species of birds such as parrots, macaws, toucans and flamingoes.

Mexico’s environment, however, continues to face a variety of threats such as overexploitation of natural resources, agricultural expansion and overgrazing, water pollution, coastal development and illegal logging.
 / ©: WWF-Canon / Anthony B. RATH
Settler with child in the village of Chuparrosa, Oaxaca, Mexico.
© WWF-Canon / Anthony B. RATH

Country Eco-tips

Energy and Water
  • Mexico is well known for its unsafe drinking water.
  • Most hotels supply bottled water in your room, even if the tap water is drinkable.
  • Most tourist resorts have on-site water purification systems. Ask your hotel about the quality of the drinking water.
 
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Recycling
  • Mexico lags behind many countries in Latin America in recycling efforts. Currently, recycling is part of the city’s informal economy, carried out by garbage collectors who separate and sell the goods for their own profit, scavengers who sell materials they find in landfills, and non-profit organizations and companies in the recycling business.
  • Recycling of PET bottles is becoming more and more widespread.
 
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Transport
  • The municipal transport and road ministry announced a phase-out of the iconic green and white Volkswagen Bug taxis, or Vochos, by 2012, ruling them less safe and responsible for more pollution than any vehicle on the road.
  • Mexico City’s metro buses run on clean-burning, ultra-low sulfur diesel.
  •  Despite the pollution and traffic, biking around Mexico City can be faster than public transportation. Rent a bike for free through the bike sharing programme, Mejor En Bici.
  • In an effort to lower the rising number of car commuters in Mexico City, officials plan to build 300 kilometres of bike paths by 2012.
  • With 175 stations, Mexico City’s metro is an easy way to get around the city, but very crowded during the morning and evening rush hours.
  • You can also get around town by renting a two-wheeled electric-powered Segway.
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Food
  • Mexico has one of the highest numbers of organic farms worldwide. The country has been exporting organic coffee, fruits and vegetables abroad for about two decades, but it is just beginning to market these products to consumers at home.
  • Vegetarian restaurants and health food stores can found throughout Mexico - www.happycow.net/north_america/mexico.
  • In Mexico City, look for the Sello Verde (Green Stamp) for certified organic products in many local supermarkets.
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Souvenirs
  • Many of Mexico’s native cacti and orchids for sale are rare and Mexico generally prohibits the export of these plants collected in the wild - it is advisable to avoid them unless you have the required documents for bringing them with you.
  • If you consider buying a pair of cowboy boots, make sure they are not made from the leather of endangered species; you may need permits for bringing reptile leather products home.
  • Mexico strictly regulates the export of its native birds such as parrots.
  • Remember that international trade in sea turtle products (shells, combs, sunglasses, etc.) is banned and that you will not be allowed to bring these back home with you.
  • In efforts to protect the Mesoamerica Reef, avoid purchasing souvenirs or products made from coral.
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Green Spots
  • Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve: The biosphere lies within the central of the Mexican states of States of Mexico and Michoacan, about 100km northwest of Mexico City. Every autumn, millions of monarch butterflies fly from North America to their wintering grounds in the reserve.
  • Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve: Located in the state of Quintana Roo on the Caribbean Sea, this reserve is on land and part in the sea, including parts of the Mesoamerican reef. It is also home to several endangered species including jaguar, puma, tapir, manatee and the spider monkey. The loggerhead, hawksbill and green turtles come ashore to nest between June and August.
  • El Chico National Park: Mexico’s first national park, El Chico is filled with pine, oak, and juniper forests and mountains that rise up to 2900 metres. Just outside of Pachuca and only an hour and a half from Mexico City, the park is a popular weekend getaway for biking, hiking and trout fishing.
  • Chapultepec Park: Chapultepec is Mexico City’s largest park. Located on a hill on the outskirts of the city, the park is a green oasis with forests and several small lakes as well as several museums and a zoo.
  • Espiritu Santo: Located in the Sea of Cortez in the southern part of the Baja California peninsular, this archipelago is known for its rocky reefs, estuaries, beaches and bays. A no-fishing area protects abundant marine life, including harbour dolphins, whales, sea lions and five species of sea turtles..
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Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the above information. However, WWF makes no warranties, expressed or implied, regarding errors or omissions and assumes no legal liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use.
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