Those who do not mind urinating in public, littering and consuming alcoholic beverages on public highways can avoid fines and jail time by joining the Sargassum cleaning squad in Cancun.
Local judges have allowed this type of punishment in the last few weeks. This concept was offered to the Playa del Carmen authorities by the Zomefat (the body in charge of beach maintenance).
“We talked to the civic judges a week ago to propose this initiative of having people do community service instead of having to pay other types of fines.”
“This notion piqued the curiosity of many judges,” Lourdes Vargues Ocampo, head of the Zomefat Institute, said of the initiative.
People who choose to do this community service do not have to pay fines or go to jail to pay their debt to society.
Note that the campaign is aimed exclusively at people who have committed “administrative offenses.” Actual criminal action is off the deal.
Offenders are assigned a certain number of community service hours that they must perform in order to be officially released.
“We had 15 people who did community service on Sunday, 11 on Monday and 7 on Tuesday,” the group said.
The number is expected to rise as authorities have warned tourists about some of the -vacation activities- that could land them in hot waters.
Most local restrictions that can result in a fine or even imprisonment relate to excessive noise in a residential area.
Because of this, police escort party animals to the famous “torito” where they are brought before a judge who can impose a fine or imprison them for up to 48 hours.
Drunk tourists who wander around certain areas or show up at movie theaters under the influence of alcohol or drugs can get a ticket to cleaning the Playa del Carmen beaches for other tourists.
Not everyone who cleans Sargassum’s beaches is an unruly tourist or a criminal. The Zomefat organization is also giving a monthly salary of 9,000 MXN (about 450 dollars) to anyone willing to clean up the beaches of Playa del Carmen alongside minor offenders.