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A woman and child appear unfazed by the surrounding seaweed. A woman and child appear unfazed by the surrounding seaweed.

Quintana Roo divided into 9 zones in effort to remove sargassum

'We will help,' says President López Obrador, who will meet with state and other officials on Tuesday

A plan to combat this year’s expected million tonnes of sargassum on the beaches of Quintana Roo is beginning to take shape.

The state government has announced emergency sargassum protocol that will divide the state into nine zones where efforts will be concentrated on preventing the seaweed from accumulating on beaches.

Environment Secretary Alfredo Arellano will head the initiative intended to keep the beaches clean and find a sustainable use for the collected plant matter.

The state has identified beachfront hotel owners and businesses that might be affected by the algae’s arrival, all of whom received a summary of the state’s plan, which outlines cooperation with business owners and residents to erect retention barriers and organize clean-up crews.

In a Friday meeting with hotel owners in Zone 7, which extends from Punta Maroma to Playa Mamitas in Solidaridad, Tourism Secretary Marisol Vanegas Pérez related the state’s plan and stressed the importance of federal support to combat the problem.

This morning, President López Obrador announced a Tuesday meeting with Fonatur director Rogelio Jiménez Pons, Quintana Roo business owners and Governor Carlos Joaquín to discuss solutions for the sargassum, which is expected to continue arriving over the next few months.

Asked at his daily press conference if the federal government will provide economic assistance to industries affected he said “we are going to help.”

The arrival of sargassum over the weekend didn’t quite live up to the forecasts but those are expected to be fulfilled over the next 72 hours, affecting beaches from Holbox in the north of the state to Xcalak near the border with Belize. Authorities are actively monitoring the situation’s progress with the help of satellite images and drones.

The Cancún sargassum monitoring network reports that beaches in Puerto Morelos, Solidaridad (Playa del Carmen) and Tulum are the most affected.

In Solidaridad, paid and volunteer workers have been removing more than 100 tonnes of sargassum a day from the beaches.

Source: Milenio (sp), El Financiero (sp), Notimex (sp)

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