Playa del Carmen has been one of the most proactive municipalities in the Mexican Caribbean when it comes to preventing sargassum from ruining vacations in paradise.
This week, officials announced the city would install new sargassum barriers to further improve cleaning efforts.
With sargassum levels expected to rise significantly this year compared to before, cities across the Mexican Caribbean have invested in new anti-seaweed technologies to ensure their beaches remain spotless.
Here’s the latest on Playa del Carmen’s sargassum measures:
New Sargassum Barrier To Decrease Seaweed Levels In Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen is no stranger to sargassum; each year, the coastal Riviera Maya hotspot is plagued by the macroalgae, which washes up on its coastline in massive quantities.
Preventing sargassum from tarnishing the city’s reputation is a priority for the local government, which has implemented new anti-sargassum measures.
The latest is a sargassum barrier which will be installed later this month. The measure is just one of many Playa del Carmen officials have announced as part of a wider effort to stop sargassum.
Floating barriers, which are placed several hundred meters from the coastline, are one of the most effective methods for controlling sargassum seaweed. They work by physically blocking it from reaching the shore, allowing cleaners on boats to remove excess seaweed, leading to cleaner beaches.
Playa del Carmen’s new sargassum barriers will be installed at the end of the month once seaweed levels are expected to begin increasing.
The barriers will measure around 200 meters in length and will be placed in a strategic location near the downtown beach area.
According to María de Lourdes Várguez Ocampo, head of Playa del Carmen’s environmental department, the sargassum barrier will have several small openings so that boats and ferries can safely navigate from the city’s ports to island destinations like Cozumel.
Environmental experts are currently working on several improvements to make the barriers more effective compared to previous years.
To that end, Playa del Carmen is teaming up with the Mexican Navy, whose expertise and know-how will bring added value in the fight against record sargassum levels.
Last year, Playa del Carmen officials came under fire after the city’s sargassum barrier proved largely ineffective, as openings along the length of the barrier allowed for seaweed to traverse it.
This year’s model includes some iterations to address those issues without compromising ferry routes.
Playa del Carmen Steps Up Sargassum Measures
Playa del Carmen has made a flurry of new investments in anti-sargassum technology as the city braces itself for record seaweed levels.
Factors like rising ocean temperatures and strong ocean currents are all linked to growing sargassum levels.
Moreover, due to Playa del Carmen’s location, the city is susceptible to higher sargassum levels compared to Cancun or northern destinations like Holbox.
Playa del Carmen has a two-part sargassum strategy: the first pillar consists in preventing the macroalgae from reaching the shore by means of barriers or by physically removing it from the ocean.
The second part deals with removing sargassum from beaches before it starts decomposing and emitting a foul odor.
Despite growing concern due to record seaweed levels, city officials are convinced that recent investments in sargassum technology will help ameliorate the situation. Aside from the new 200-meter barrier, Playa del Carmen will be relying on more traditional means to remove sargassum.
The city has hired over 130 cleaners that work around the clock to clean up beaches from the downtown area all the way to Xcalacoco.
Playa del Carmen has also invested in new temporary sargassum storage containers, which can be found across the city’s main beaches.
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