It’s not just sargassum that’s washing up on Mexican beaches.
Local government and tourism workers this week removed more than 160 tonnes of water lilies from Playa El Varadero, a beach on Isla Ixtapa, a small island off the coast of the Guerrero resort city of the same name.
Recent heavy rains carried the plant into the sea from the Pantla river, whose mouth is near Isla Ixtapa.
Zihuatanejo public services director David Luna Bravo said that local hoteliers and restaurant owners contributed to the clean-up efforts.
After the water lilies are collected, they are transported by boat to Playa Linda on the mainland.
In just two and a half hours on Tuesday, 10 dump trucks were filled with lilies, Luna said.
Ricardo Pineda, owner of El Indio restaurant, said that water lilies wash up on Ixtapa beaches practically every year but explained that he hadn’t seen such a large quantity of the plant for three or four years.
Having to dedicate time to cleaning up El Varadero beach has caused restaurant owners to fall behind in other tasks they need to do to prepare for the peak tourist season, he added.
“It’s the season now . . . but thankfully . . . the authorities are helping us,” Pineda said.
On the other side of the country, record quantities of sargassum have been invading the Quintana Roo coastline, including 35 tonnes of the weed that washed up on Cancún’s Playa Delfines on Tuesday.