“I’ve developed ulcers, rashes and long-lasting scars”, said José Ángel Velasquez, a local fisherman who is forced to push his boat into harbour on foot through the waters every day. “I’ve got infections in my feet that I can’t get rid of, and if I accidentally cut myself and the water gets in I’m out of action for a week”.
Dufresne, a fictional character played by Tim Robbins in the film adaptation of the Stephen King novel Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, spends 19 years tunnelling out of prison after being falsely convicted of murder.
He crawls through a sewer pipe for 500 yards before emerging into a river, where, in the film’s signature image, he rips his shirt off in the rain before making his way to Zihuatanejo to begin a new life.
The announcement of pollution at Zihuatanejo comes ahead of next week’s nationwide Easter holidays, when hordes of tourists descend on the country’s Pacific coast
“The water here gave me conjunctivitis” said Luis Pelayo, a diving instructor. “I’ve worked all along the Pacific coast and it’s never happened to me anywhere else.
“You can tell in the evenings who has been in the water during the day as they all have red eyes”.
Local authorities claim that since 1992 millions of dollars have been spent on treating the waters of the lagoon and surrounding plant life.
“Local people dump oil, grease and other waste into the lagoon and think it won’t have an effect”, a local government spokesman told La Reforma. “But it sets us back a lot, we need to educate the local people as to proper waste disposal”.
“The lagoon smells awful”, one Canadian tourist said while holding his nose. “I booked to come here but tomorrow I’ll be moving further along the coast to where it doesn’t stink.”