Sargassum in Mahahual forces business to close
At least one hundred families, around 380 people, were left without income in the municipality of Mahahual because tourism businesses, such as restaurants and hotels, decided to cut their staff in the absence of demand.
Video of July 18, 2019, which documents the massive arrival of sargassum on the beaches of Mahahual, one of the most affected areas south of the State of Quintana Roo.
Volunteers clean the beaches of Mahahual
The economic situation in Mahahual has become more difficult in recent days because in the area of beaches they temporarily closed four restaurants and a three-star hotel-restaurant.
The visitors of the international cruises in the Costa Maya Port limit their arrival to the zone of beaches, due to the presence of sargassum, which causes economic losses.
Xcalak, a community located south of Quintana Roo, on the border with Belize, is one of the best-preserved mangrove and coral areas in the country. A few meters from its beaches, sits the Mesoamerican reef, the second largest coral reef in the world, after Australia. This area is of national and international ecological importance for its biodiversity and is invaded by the sargassum.
More than 650 people from civil society organizations, students, fishermen, residents of Xcalak and government officials, participated in the cleaning of their beaches and extract the algae that could cause an ecological imbalance in the area.
"I feel good, I feel proud because we have beautiful beaches, we must really save them and I feel very good to be here, to support each other," said Ileana Cabrera, a student at the Technological Institute of Chetumal.
So far this year more than 70 thousand tons of alga have been collected and there are still thousands to be extracted.
Scientists from universities and research centers admit that little is known about the massive flowering of sargassum that reaches the Mexican Caribbean. Alejandro Bravo, an academic from the Oceanography Institute of Quintana Roo, mentions:
"An oceanic mass with impressive sargassum is coming to us, a whole sargassum forest currently floating in the Caribbean Sea, which is coming here."
The research work has been scarce and that makes it difficult from the scientific point of view, the adequate mechanisms to control it, divert it or eliminate it and avoid ecological damage to other ecosystems.
The company Renovare Ocean de León, Guanajuato, found a way to use plastic and sargassum, algae that have been affecting Mexican coasts, to make ecological and biodegradable shoes.
The project is about a dream that Jorge Castro, founder of the company, has had since his childhood, as he comes from a family of shoemakers.
"We then began to think of a question that would lead us to the solution of our tests. What material is used so considerably that it can be polluting but possible to reuse or recycle? We started working with PET [plastic], and finally we came to an adequate process. Of course, this would only be the real start of the road and numerous other challenges," says the businessman on the RenovareCo page.
It describes that the shoes are usually made with plastic bottles, adhered with solvent glue in water, so as not to damage the people who make the shoes, and add the sole, made with 150 grams of sargassum.
The project not only cares about the effects of pollution but is also committed to society. According to Benjamín López, commercial manager of the project, 10% of its profits are dedicated to social causes.
In addition to being shoes made with Mexican hands, it makes use of German technology of the first level.
The prototype of shoes made with sargasso and plastic will soon begin with its distribution, receiving requests from department stores such as Liverpool, in Mexico, and other stores in the United States, Colombia, and Puerto Rico.