MEXICO: Mitsubishi ditches plans to build saltworks in whale breeding ground

Mitsubishi has supported the decision taken by Mexico's President to end plans for a 260km² saltworks in Baja. The company maintains that an environmental impact assessment has shown that the saltworks would not harm the environment or any specific species, but it acknowledged concerns "about the alteration of the landscape".

Public pressure to abandon plans to build the saltworks – close to a lagoon described by environmentalists as the last pristine breeding ground for the gray whale – reached its highest point last July when a Mexican-led coalition against the saltworks bought newspaper ads bearing the names and signatures of some of the world’s most presitigious living scientists. The adverts ran in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and Mexico’s Reforma (see related story).

UNESCO also become involved in the debate because the lagoon where the gray whale breeds, the San Ignacio Lagoon, is a UNESCO World Heritage site (see related story).

Mitsubishi is part of a consortium that already operates a saltworks in Baja. Plans to build the now-aborted second saltworks in Baja began five years ago.

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