The east coast of the island of Cozumel, Quintana Roo, is being severely affected by the massive arrival of tons of sargasso, which has caused eroded beaches and mountains of stinky seaweed pilling up on the white sands of this once heavenly destination.
On Friday July 12th, six cruise ships arrived on the island of Cozumel, bringing about three thousand passengers on board each; however, due to the sargassum situation, most of them could not visit the traditional beaches of the island.
The excessive accumulation of sargassum on the eastern beaches of Cozumel exceeds the efforts of the villagers to keep them clean. And as machinery is being used to clear the beaches, thousands of kilograms of sand are going away with the sargasso.
However, on the west side of the island, beaches are free of sargassum. The white sands of the Mexican Caribbean can be fully enjoyed at this favorite destination for national and international tourists. And the reason is that the beaches on this side of the island are totally sragassum-free, and the crystalline waters shine as usual under the Caribbean sun.
One month ago there was a high level international meeting, in which 12 countries met, international development banks attended too, since this was an event for international cooperation and financing, something we could call “the sargasso summit”. But apparently, the high level officials that met there didn’t manage to reach any typr of useful agreement, because all the countries that attended the summit, are still suffering from this serious problem (including Mexico of course).
Among the practical solutions proposed were:
- To have a very good monitoring system.
- To have a very good containment system at open sea, before the seaweed mass reaches shallow waters.
- Not to wait until sargassun reaches the shore but collect it at open sea.
But it seems like none of these measures are being taken, since massive amounts of seaweed are reaching the shores of Quntana Roo, causing tremendous damage to the coral reefs, marine species, and eroding the beaches.
This is an emergency situation that needs to be taken care of by Federal, State and Municipal governments in coordination with the private initiative, higher education institutions and NGOs.
The Yucatan Times Newsroom