Mexico City Plans Environmentally Friendly Project in Tourist Zone

Mexico City’s government plans to provide the tourist zone of the Xochimilco canals with environmentally friendly boats and barges and to gradually substitute the usual wooden ones, which have very high maintenance costs, officials said.
Mauricio Leon, director of infrastructure, modernization and innovation for the Federal District, unveiled the plan on Monday.
After presenting the first prototype of the ecologically sound craft last weekend, the plan is that the owners of the traditional gondola-like non-motorized boats form a cooperative to gradually replace them.
The traditional wooden vessels with their colorful arches, formerly used mostly to transport goods but now dedicated almost exclusively to tourism, constitute “an enormous expense” since they must be renovated every year due to “the deterioration in recent years” of the water in the canals and the fungi it contains that degrade the wood, Leon said.
Created by scientists at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM, the so-called “technoecological boat” preserves the typical characteristics that have made it a symbol of Mexico worldwide.
The great advantage is that the new boat – called a “trajinera” – is made of recycled PET plastic (canal-polluting water and shampoo bottles and plastic bags), polyethylene and volcanic clay, a compound that provides the boats with greater durability and stability.
Since they are made of recycled material, unlike the traditional ones for which 20 trees have to be cut down to make each one, they are much cheaper, require less maintenance and their durability is much greater – they can last as long as 120 years.
The problem is the cost of the machinery, Leon said, so that the ideal solution would be for the oarsmen to form “a cooperative able to get financing for the machines,” which cost some 5 million pesos ($380,000). This is a long-term plan, because when the machines are installed, they can produce from three to four boats a week, and in Xochimilco there are currently some 1,500.


  1. Loretta and I had a stopover in Mexico City on the way home, I think it was from Puerto Vallarta, or perhaps it was the time we went to Acapulco back in the late 1900s. We were most impressed with the large pyramid pushing up in the middle of a street intersection, and all the leaning buildings. However we did not see the canals or the boats … too bad. However we had time to take a bus out to the Aztec pyramids east of town, and also see the houses where the wealthy live in the city. The servants housing on either side of the main house were as big or larger than our custom built three story home in San Francisco. Very impressive.

    However we settled for our annual three week vacation in the small town and fishing village of Puerto Vallarta , and take the boat rides out along Banderas Bay. We have experienced some large earthquakes in PV, but nothing like what happened in Mexico City during the big one back in the 1900s. Pictures on TV shown in San Francisco looked like the bombed out cities in Germany during WWII..

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