Sargassum has been a major issue this year and now Cancun hotels are asking the President for help in clearing the seaweed from their beaches as another large bloom is expected soon. The request also asks the government to focus efforts primarily on the sargassum that is still out to sea, because once it reaches the shore it is no longer just seaweed but turns into garbage that must be removed. This affects tourists that visit Cancun by making the beaches less desirable during the times when they are covered with it.
Sargassum is a seaweed that washes up on the Mexican Caribbean coast in huge amounts, making it difficult for tourists to enjoy the beaches. While it poses no threat to humans, it does take away from the beauty of the beaches and, when it begins to decompose, emits a foul odor that is unpleasant, to say the least. The city works hard to remove the sargassum once it washes up but the ideal solution, according to the hotels that have to deal with it, would be to stop the problem before it starts.
Earlier in the year, a task force was put together to address the problems with the sargassum but it still persists months later. The main purpose of the task force is to come up with ways to stop the seaweed from making it to the coast. Some of the solutions include installing barriers out to sea to stop it and sending naval ships out to sea to collect it before it makes it to the shore.
While these are great ideas that will surely help address the problem, they have to be implemented to work. As of right now, some areas are still waiting for the barriers to be installed. Furthermore, it seems the Navy is unable to keep up with the massive amounts of sargassum present this year.
The Sargassum Monitoring Network is able to warn officials of massive blooms of the seaweed far before they reach the beaches but the task of removing it is left to government officials. This year is one of the worst in history, surpassing 2018 which was the last time it was even close to this bad. Although sargassum has always been around, it has only been over the last decade or so that the problem has steadily begun to worsen.
The last round of sargassum that washed up not only affected the beaches but a couple of very popular parks in Cancun as well. Both Xcaret and Xel Há were flooded with the annoying seaweed, making it difficult for visitors to enjoy either park. At Xcaret the cove was filled with sargassum a couple of weeks ago and the zipline and cave areas of Xel Há reportedly had a large amount of the seaweed as well.
So far this year tons and tons of sargassum have washed ashore in Cancun and along the Riviera Maya coast, affecting any beach activities that visitors normally enjoy. This is why Manuel Paredes Mendoza, director of the Riviera Maya Hotel Association, is asking that sargassum collection be increased now before this new wave arrives in the near future. If officials can get ahead of this new bloom, it is the hope that the interference with tourist activities can be minimized.
Throughout the year so far, many locals, organizations, and city employees have pitched in to get sargassum off of the beaches and likely will continue to do so. But if the problem can be stopped before it starts, it will have much less of an effect on Cancun tourists, which is what the hotels in the city are hoping for.
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