Monday, June 17, 2024

Sargassum season ends, leaving pristine Quintana Roo beaches

Mara Lezama Espinosa, the governor of Quintana Roo, has announced that the seasonal arrival of sargassum – a brown seaweed that has amassed on the coasts of Quintana Roo and other parts of the Mexican Caribbean – has come to an end for this year.

During her press conference last Wednesday, Lezama recognized the efforts of all those who contributed to keeping the beaches clean in Quintana Roo, from the federal government to state employees and private companies.

The beach area of the Xcaret theme park was closed on Sunday, as workers removed the seaweed.
The state employs dedicated cleaning teams to deal with the sargassum that washes up on the shores of Quintana Roo.  (Somos Playa del Carmen/Facebook)

She said that Quintana Roo had installed 8,600 meters of barriers to contain sargassum and collected 22,128 tonnes of the seaweed this year. The state has also acquired 4 sweepers, a tractor and 14 amphibious collection belts.

Monitoring of sargassum levels first began in 2018, after the local government declared a state of emergency due to abnormally high levels of seaweed. Experts have linked the prevalence of sargassum to climate change.  

While presenting a report from the National Strategy for Sargassum Care, Admiral Abraham Eloy Caballero, said “this ceremony shows how cooperation achieves results in favor of Quintana Roo and our nation,” adding that since 2019, the government, private entities, NGOs, environmentalists, and civil society have collaborated to address the issue. 

Since 2019, Quintana Roo has collected 225,648 tons of sargassum, some of which is recycled and used in the construction of sustainable housing.

Semar sargassum cleaning
The scale of the sargassum problem has meant that even the military is now involved in collection efforts. (Mara Lezama/X)

The Quintana Roo Sargassum Monitoring Network forecast in June that there would be low levels of sargassum on the state’s beaches over the summer. Currently, 85% of the beaches in Quintana Roo contain low levels of sargassum with the remaining 15% listed as sargassum-free.

With reports from La Jornada Maya, Sargassum Monitoring, Sargassum Hub and Reportur

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