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What These Mexican Caribbean Resort Hotspots Are Doing To Stop Sargassum This Summer

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With sargassum making an unusually early appearance this year, cities across the Mexican Caribbean have started taking drastic measures to contend with record seaweed levels.

Millions of travelers are expected to visit some of the region’s most popular resort hotspots over the coming months, including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum.

A large amount of sargassum on the coastline in Cancun

Here’s a small recap of how each location is planning on keeping sargassum at bay this summer:

Cancun Is Opting For New High-Tech Solutions

Cancun is home to an array of renowned beaches which make the coastal city one of the world’s leading resort destinations. With record-breaking tourist arrivals expected this year, Cancun is stepping up its game in the fight against sargassum.

This year, the city is launching a new high-tech program that aims to transform large quantities of sargassum into biofertilizers and other industrial products.

Sargassum removal taking place at a Playa del Carmen beach

In addition to its cutting-edge approach, Cancun relies on more traditional disposal means, including well over a hundred cleaners who work around the clock to remove sargassum from popular beaches. Large resorts also hire private cleaners to keep their private beaches in pristine condition.

Lastly, Cancun officials regularly organize clean-up efforts with local environmental organizations that collect massive amounts of trash and sargassum from public beaches.

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Sargassum barrier to block sargassum near Cancun

Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is no stranger to sargassum; last year, the coastal destination was invaded by record amounts of the foul-smelling seaweed. This year, things are looking bleak for this Caribbean resort hotspot located just 70 kilometers south of Cancun.

Young woman walks down beach covered in sargassum in playa del carmen

Officials say more than 750 tons of sargassum have already been cleared from Playa del Carmen beaches this year, and more is on the way. The city’s leader, Lili Campos, has instructed the Zofemat – a waste treatment and environmental institution – and the Secretary for the Navy to join efforts in removing record quantities of sargassum.

While the navy will focus on setting up sargassum barriers and removing large seaweed patches before they wash up on the shore, a team of over 60 cleaners will manually retrieve and dry sargassum from Playa del Carmen’s beaches. Authorities have also added new containers, which dot some of the area’s beaches and act as a temporary storage point for sargassum.

Aerial view of the Mexican Caribbean coastline with sargassum

Isla Mujeres: One Of The Cleanest Beach Destinations In Mexico

Isla Mujeres has earned a reputation for being one of the cleanest beach destinations in Mexico; its beaches are also recognized as some of the best in the world, including Playa Norte.

To maintain its prestigious position, Isla Mujeres follows a carefully planned strategy to minimize the amount of sargassum on its beaches. While occasionally representing an issue for the resort hotspot, the situation is generally far better than in Cancun or Playa del Carmen. This year, officials say the city will employ around 150 cleaners to patrol the island’s main beaches. 

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Alongside Playa del Carmen and the eastern coast of Cozumel, sargassum typically affects Tulum more than other Mexican Caribbean destinations. Located south of Playa del Carmen, Tulum is not only known for its stunning history but also its beautiful white-sand beaches, which were recently awarded platinum certification.

Huge amount of sargassum washing up on Isla Mujeres

Officials recently announced they would install around 3 kilometers of anti-sargassum barriers in late April in preparation for the busy summer season. In addition, the city will work closely with other institutions, such as the Navy and volunteering organizations. The city’s resorts will also be working closely with municipal authorities to boost anti-sargassum efforts as Tulum attempts to attract a growing number of travelers. 

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