The algae took by surprise hotels and municipalities that still do not have measures to mitigate the landings this year.
Cancun, Quintana Roo, (April 13, 2021).- Quintana Roo received this Tuesday, April 13th, one of the first massive shipments of sargassum in the 2021 season, with impacts throughout the state’s coastline, from north to south.
The brown algae flooded the coasts, to a greater extent, in Playa del Carmen, Mahahual, and Xcalak, taking by surprise the hotels and municipalities that still do not have measures to mitigate the seaweed landings this year.
Since early hours, crews of municipal workers traveled to various beaches in the state to try to leave the sands free of sargassum. However, in places where there is no tourist infrastructure, algae accumulate.
Cancun is the least affected area. According to the Sargasso Monitoring Network of Quintana Roo, 52 beaches in the northern zone have moderate and abundant sargassum, while another thirteen have low amounts and 15 are free of algae.
Only three days before, 50 points were identified with very low presence, and only 15 between abundant and moderate.
The Network attributes these landfalls to the winds from the southeast, which run northward at up to 40 kilometers per hour.
The arrival of sargassum brings with it a series of environmental and economic effects, as it causes the death of seagrass ecosystems, affects the sand and kills species of ecological and commercial importance, such as fish and crustaceans.
Likewise, the fetid smell and brown water are the first impressions that tourists have, who came to this destination attracted by the white sands and the turquoise sea.
During March, the accumulation of sargassum in the sea doubled, from 4.6 million tons in February to 10.1 million tons during March. This amount is comparable to the 2018 reports, the highest peaks on record.
In the summer of 2018, the coasts of the Mexican Caribbean suffered the highest sargassum recall since recorded, followed by the arrivals of 2019. Although in 2020 there was a significant drop, for this year the forecast is becoming more and more worrying.
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