Mexican government Creates Strategies to Battle Massive Sargassum Wave

By Dania Vargas Austryjak

Joint efforts to maintain the beaches clean.

The beaches of the Mexican Caribbean are known for their white sandy look, but since May they have been affected by a massive wave of sargassum seaweed covering large areas of the coasts of Quintana Roo. The large volume of seaweed and the bad smell it emits when it dries up has affected summer vacationers and the image of the destination. For this reason, the government has put forth strategies to counteract this situation.

Quintana Roo is the southern state of Mexico where vacation favorites Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya and Tulum are located. These beautiful beach destinations have received a rather unusual amount of sargassum covering the beaches, which has affected the state’s mains source of revenue: tourism.

To address this situation, the three levels of government have joined efforts to remove the majority of seaweed from the beaches, using environmentally responsible methods, as it is also spawning and nesting season of sea turtles that live in the area. The removal of sargassum has to be done under specific guidelines established by Roberto Borge Angulo, the Governor of Quintana Roo, through the state’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

playa cancun mexico

The state of Quintana Roo recently received MX $12 million (approximately USD $740,000) in funding from the federal government to assemble work crews to help clean and improve the affected beaches as well as maintain Blue Flagquality standards. These crews work from 6 am to 6 pm ensuring the beaches are cleaned up.

All of these actions have resulted in a 98% of beaches being cleaned all along the coast of the Mexican Caribbean. Unfortunately, this is a natural phenomenon that extends from the coasts of the Caribbean to the Gulf of Mexico, all the way to Texas. It has been linked to a warmer climate and a change in ocean currents.

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