Over the last week, the amount of sargassum on many Cancun beaches has subsided. This is a welcome event for tourists visiting during the holiday week and for locals that have some time off to spend at the beaches due to the holiday. Sargassum, a type of seaweed that emits an unpleasant smell during the decaying process, has been a major issue in recent weeks.
The amount of the seaweed washing up on the beaches has been so bad this year that task forces have been formed in various areas throughout the Riviera Maya in order to come up with a plan to get rid of it. Not only are they trying to get rid of what’s there, but a collaboration of scientists, government officials, researchers, and others, are also working on developing ways to prevent sargassum from reaching the coast to begin with.
While sargassum has been around for many years, the last few have been significantly worse for beaches in Cancun and the Riviera Maya. This year has been just as bad and many different individuals and organizations have pitched in to help with the removal. The Navy has used ships to help collect the sargassum while it’s still out to sea, locals have helped with collecting it from the beaches, and barriers have been put in place to help keep sargassum from reaching the shore.
This latest reprieve from the massive amounts of sargassum washing up, though, is the work of nature itself. The recent cold front that moved in brought a significant amount of wind with it as well. It was enough to keep the sargassum at bay and off of many of Cancun’s most popular beaches. This is good news for the many tourists that decided to visit Cancun during the holiday week, despite knowing that there was an excessive sargassum problem this year.
Recent reports have shown that hotels in the popular tourist destination have been at near capacity and restaurants in the hotel zone are as busy as ever. Hundreds of flights coming from international destinations, like the U.S. and Canada, are arriving every day at Cancun International Airport. Cancun is currently in the Green Zone in regards to Covid-19 risk, which means low-transmission risk, and that may be one of the reasons it is seeing so many more tourists than other destinations at the moment. Whatever the reason may be, it is a much-needed boost to the economy following the slow-down caused by the coronavirus.
While it’s great that there is a significant reduction in the amount of sargassum on many Cancun beaches right now, the event will be short-lived according to weather reports. The winds that came with this last cold front that passed through the Riviera Maya area pushed the sargassum more towards Central America.
By Tuesday of next week, it will be a different story though, as weather reports show that Cancun will begin seeing strong winds come in from the west. This means that, while the Sargassum Monitoring Network of Quintana Roo is currently showing that 70 percent of Quintana Roo’s 48 main beaches are currently in optimal condition for tourists, it will likely be quite a different picture by the middle of next week. The westerly winds will blow the sargassum back to the coast of the Riviera Maya and beaches in Cancun will be covered with it again.
Fortunately, there are many individuals working hard to come up with a solution to the sargassum problem that plagues the area. Both short and long-term solutions are being explored and hopefully in the future, maybe the sargassum problem in Cancun can be kept at bay.
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