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gathering sargassum A family gathers the seaweed before enjoying a meal on the beach.

Cozumel restaurant offers food and beer in exchange for gathering sargassum

Restaurateur finds a creative response to a messy problem

Massive amounts of sargassum are once again washing ashore in Quintana Roo, affecting both tourism and the environment.

But a Cozumel restaurant has come up with an innovative way of dealing with the stinky mess: offering free food and drinks to locals and tourists who help clean it up.

Restaurant owner Francisco Reyes said he was looking for a way to motivate guests to come help with the cleanup, improve the image of the area and enjoy some beach time. He calls the initiative a “Sargassathon.”

The restaurant provides the bags, tools, face masks and gloves to protect against the sargassum, which is irritating to the skin. The reward earned depends on the number of bags collected. Three bags earns a soft drink, four earns a beer and 20 bags can be exchanged for a ceviche, french fries and six beers.

Local resident Argel Carillo brought his whole family to participate in the cleanup. In less than 30 minutes, they cleaned a meter and a half-long stretch of beach and filled more than 20 bags.

“We all came because we were free and with more hands, we can fill more bags and get more food,” Carillo said.

With reports from Milenio

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