Sargassum seaweed continues to hit Playa del Carmen hard this month

12/07/2021

During July and August an "excessive" arrival of sargassum to beaches in Playa del Carmen is expected, so the coordinator of the national strategy for the attention of sargassum of the Secretariat of the Navy (Semar), Rear Admiral Alejandro Lopez Zenteno, assured that the only thing that can be done is to mitigate its impact on those coasts of interest, although he admits that there will be a relapse.

In July and August the arrival of large volumes of the seaweed in Playa del Carmen is expected. Photo by Yamilet Vicente Sanchez via Facebook
In July and August the arrival of large volumes of the seaweed in Playa del Carmen is expected. Photo by Yamilet Vicente Sanchez via Facebook

The admiral highlighted the strategy of the three orders of government coordinated by the Secretariat of the Navy since 2019 and specified that the method bases its operation on three fronts: the oceanic, which is carried out through the Natans vessel, which collects the seaweed in deep waters; the coastal front, which uses sargasso boats, which with different barriers make the containment, collect and send to land and the third, the beachfront, where the municipalities are responsible for its cleaning.

The rear admiral indicated that the conditions in the state are diverse, so each site has its strategy; for example in Puerto Morelos, where there is a swell, but the reef protects the containment barrier; or the oceanic dynamics of Playa del Carmen, where there is no reef to support. Last Monday the barrier was removed from Playa del Carmen to stop this phenomenon. In Mahahual the barrier has already been placed, and the company must place the anchors that were paid for by the municipality of Othón P. Blanco.

Perhaps in the future, if more means were acquired, the mitigation could be greater, but the challenge, for now, is only to mitigate the impact on the main beaches. Technology has been developed to know the direction of the seaweed, in conjunction with the University of Ensenada, taking measurements that allow knowing where the sargassum will drift to this season and help to forecast where it will land to move the tools and be more efficient.

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 Playa del Carmen.

The seaweed 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 publishes daily on Facebook how to find all the beaches in the state regarding the arrival of the sargassum.