Alert in Quintana Roo before the massive arrival of sargassum

Residents and workers of the Othón P. Blanco (Chetumal) city council, remove the accumulated sargassum on a beach in the tourist area of ​​Mahahual. Photo: (La Jornada)

QUINTANA ROO, (June 18, 2021).-  “The Costa Maya Businessmen Association will request the three levels of government to decree a health alert so that the problem of the massive arrival of sargassum to the coast of the state is immediately addressed, which discourages tourism”, informed Rodolfo Espadas, vice president of the organization.

The large amounts of algae already affect the tourist area of ​​Mahahual -located in the municipality of Othón P. Blanco (Chetumal), south of the state-, due to the nauseating stench that the algae cause when it decomposes, in addition to arriving at the strip of sand with dead fish

Espadas regretted in an interview that the small number of tourists that have visited Mahahual recently had to shorten their vacations, and expressed their dislike for the bad smell and the beaches full of decomposing algae.

He added that the massive arrival of sargassum is similar to that of 2018; In other words, it was already known in good time that the problem existed, but the necessary preventive measures were not applied to avoid a new arrival of the aquatic plant.

He reproached that the municipal government of the Quintana Roo capital did not place the anchors to support the antisargasse barriers that were planned to be installed for that purpose; In addition, the ships of the Ministry of the Mexican Navy (Semar) destined to collect the algae cannot do anything, because the plant is not contained at any point and arrives intact to the coast, where there is no human capacity to transfer it all to the final disposal site set by the city council.

He commented that businessmen placed artisan barriers on the reefs of Mahahual, in front of the boardwalk, which has yielded results, since it prevents the passage of sargassum and it is possible to clean it daily.

He said that in the rest of the state’s coastline, each beachfront businessman cleans the strip of sand that corresponds to them, which is saturated in a matter of hours “and there is no human power” that manages to keep them in good condition.

Pobladores y trabajadores del ayuntamiento de Othón P. Blanco (Chetumal), retiran el sargazo acumulado en una playa de la zona turística de Mahahual.
Photo: (La Jornada)

Tourists shortening holidays

He stressed that although tourists are already cutting their vacations, the real conflict will come at the end of the month when the cruise ships return to the port after more than a year of absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Espadas pointed out that Mahahual offers attractions, such as its reef area, a good place for fishing, and, above all, it enjoys great tranquility and security.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources reported that in recent days, authorities coordinated with Semar, the National Council of Science and Technology, as well as the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change, visited the north of the entity, where they explained the procedures for landing, gathering, handling and disposing of sargassum.

In a statement, the aforementioned institutions detailed that the presence of inorganic compounds such as nitrates and phosphates, as well as the use of inappropriate machinery and equipment to remove sargassum from beaches, harm marine biodiversity, alter and destabilize beach profiles, and lead to loss of sediments, soil compaction, periodic elimination of accumulated natural residues, depletion of vegetation and alteration of the dune formation process, among other disorders.

Source: La Jornada