One estimate says a million tonnes of sargassum can be expected this year. One estimate says a million tonnes of sargassum can be expected this year.

Navy will head up strategy to combat sargassum invasion

No need to hire private firms, president says, because navy has the expertise and equipment

The Mexican navy will lead efforts to combat the expected arrival of as much as one million tonnes of sargassum this year, President López Obrador announced today.

Speaking at his morning press conference, the president said there was no need to contract with a private company that specializes in the removal of the unsightly and smelly seaweed because the Secretariat of the Navy (Semar) has its own “very good” experts and equipment.

He said the strategy would avoid additional costs and more efficient.

López Obrador pointed out that the navy also has low-flying planes that are used to detect the transportation of drug shipments at sea and “first-class technical vessels,” assets which would be useful to spot and remove sargassum before it washes up on the white-sand beaches of Quintana Roo.

He also said that there are naval bases in the area and that the navy “knows the whole region very well.”

“We’re asking the Secretariat of the Navy to help us, they have the equipment, they have experience and this problem is going to be solved,” López Obrador declared.

The president explained that the government’s anti-sargassum plan will be presented next week and that he would ask the Secretariat of Finance (SHCP) to draw up an economic plan to fund the removal efforts.

The secretariats of the Environment (Semarnat) and Tourism (Sectur) as well as the National Tourism Promotion Fund (Fonatur), state and municipal authorities and the private sector will contribute to the overall strategy to keep Quintana Roo’s beaches clean.

The Cancún-Puerto Morelos hotels association has estimated that cleaning the beaches of sargassum will cost at least 700 million pesos (US $36.7 million) this year.

Large amounts of the weed have been forecast to arrive on much of the Quintana Roo coast this week.

Source: El Financiero (sp), El Economista (sp) 

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