Seaweed in Playa del Carmen absent: Beach bathers enjoy the waters of the Caribbean

Two months before the start of the sargassum season, the private sector has taken its lead and started installing a sargassum barrier, even in public resorts in Playa del Carmen, such as the one on the coast between Punta Esmeralda and Playa 88.

Sargassum in Playa del Carmen in January 2020
Sargassum in Playa del Carmen in January 2020

Although the day dawned fresh, the constant presence of clear skies made hundreds of families and tourists encouraged to spend this Sunday on the beautiful beaches of this destination and free of sargassum.

Both on the coastal strip in front of the first square of the city, and on the popular Esmeralda beach, bathers lay on the white sand, receiving the toning rays of the sun, or plunging into the calm waters of the Caribbean.

As it has been since the end of last year, there are no traces of the sargassum on the beaches that plagued the coast of the state; forecasts indicate that the next one will occur until February, although this time the government agencies are already coordinated for their combat.

Seaweed barrier

This is a structure that is promoted by the Paradisus hotel that will also benefit local bathers, in addition to its concession area in one of the most popular points for the local population, since it has two public accesses and Blue Flag certification.

Just as Conrad Bergwerf, president of the Riviera Maya Hotel Association, had said, the initial work began this week and prior to the month of March, which is when the sargassum usually arrives in excess to the beaches of the Riviera Maya.

"It is an investment from the private initiative, in which two public beaches with a blue flag will benefit," said Conrad Bergwerf in the announcement made earlier this year, although he omitted to disclose investment costs.

Both Beach 88 and Punta Esmeralda in the time of excessive reloading of sargassum had effects on their image, mainly the second beach because it has a bend where the algae accumulates more easily.

Even, both coastal sections had to lower their blue flag last May when there were no conditions to exhibit the Blue Flag certification. Civil Protection estimates that this coastal stretch in high season receives more than three thousand swimmers per day.

Personnel from the Océano Cleaner company, which is installing the project, said it is the first time they have placed a barrier on beaches with public access and sponsored directly by the private initiative.

They said the nets are made of polymer and are certified so they do not represent a risk of contamination or a negative factor for marine species if ingested.

Yesterday morning, the group of workers was carrying out tests to place the nets anchored to the coastal area and they foresee that it will be between 20 and 25 days before they are fully installed.

On the other hand, according to information from Marco Antonio Loeza Pacheco, director of the Federal Maritime Land Zone (Zofemat), it will be until March when the project of installing barriers for the rest of the coast will be ready, that is, from the beach of Shangri-la and up to the dock of the maritime terminal of Playa del Carmen.

Sargassum comes from Africa and reaches the part of the Amazon where it begins to nourish, rapidly increasing its volume, and then continue advancing until it reaches the beaches of Quintana Roo.

The sargassum problem is not exclusive to the state, it is a natural phenomenon present in several parts of the world and even in several areas its arrival is greater, however, it can be emphasized that no one has achieved as much progress as Mexico in the fight against this macroalgae.

The Sargasso Monitoring Network of Cancun publishes daily on Facebook how to find all the beaches in the state regarding the arrival of the sargassum.


China became the third nation interested in addressing the issue of sargassum in Playa del Carmen.

China formalized its interest in participating in actions to address the problem of sargassum on the coast of Solidarity (where the town of Playa del Carmen is located) by participating in a representation of that nation, in a meeting with municipal authorities.

In a statement, it was reported that officials of the Solidarity government received the diplomatic visit of Xiangshan Ningbo County in a meeting that allowed "closer ties" and a joint agenda was generated that promotes mutual cooperation in the political, cultural, economic aspect, educational and tourist.

In this regard, Rouling Bao, founder and president of the Chamber of Commerce and Investment "Yangtze River", said that China is interested in bringing investment to this important holiday destination, which can diversify the economic attraction.

He also pointed out that as part of the twinning, work is being carried out together to reduce the affectation generated by the sargassum and that Chinese scientists who were successful with the problem of the aquatic plant in Xiangshan Ningbo will soon arrive.

"After a study, it will be possible to determine what actions to take so that the coasts of the Riviera Maya are not affected as it happened in past years," said Rouling Bao.

During his visit to Playa del Carmen, Niu Jingying, vice mayor of Xiangshan Ningbo County, Republic of China, pointed out that the eastern capital sees in this destination a place that has the certainty to invest and commented that the promotion of Solidarity in this area so that more nationals know this holiday resort.

In recent weeks, businessmen and authorities from Norway and Italy expressed their interest in participating in the attention to the issue of sargassum that reaches the shores of Quintana Roo, which although at this time decreased, is expected to continue arriving. In Cancun, the interest is from Italy, while in Puerto Morelos it is from Norway.

By Mexicanist