Hotels Introduce Fertilizer Program Using Sargassum Seaweed

Only environmentally focused businesses that are interested in processing sargassum for use as fertilizer will be approached for potential partnerships.

Hotels Introduce Fertilizer Program Using Sargassum Seaweed
Some hotels have started a program to process sargassum as fertilizer. Photo by James Baltz / Unsplash

The initiative, which has been in the works for over a year and a half, is a comprehensive project for the sargassum problem called "The Seas We Love." The plan has allowed different hotel chains to join with the United Nations (UN) to deal as best as possible with the arrival of sargassum on the beaches of this Riviera Maya municipality and reduce their carbon footprint.

They have held meetings with various institutions such as Banco Santander, the World Bank, and Amazon, which has a budget item for environmental issues; they are also working on the creation of an advisory council with national and international universities so that specialists can support this project. Work will be sought with companies interested in processing the sargassum and using it as fertilizer, although he emphasized that they will be companies that are only dedicated to environmental issues.

"We have to see very carefully how this would be used, in which areas, and which companies would be willing to convert it into a product. We already have great advances and some companies are interested. However, the daily capacity they have is very low in comparison to what is collected," explained the hotel leader.

To date, they have signed agreements with companies that have committed to increasing their sargassum processing capacity. They will seek to create a trust fund for the UN to carry out audits and manage this project to make it transparent. The Riviera Maya Hotel Association will be in charge of the project from start to finish. The first phase of the project will cost $100 million.

The sargassum seaweed season in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean is over, so the beaches are now free of this undesirable macroalgae. This was assured by the director of the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone (Zofemat), María de Lourdes Várguez Ocampo, who pointed out that the season officially ends in the last days of September, so now the amount of sargassum that will be arriving on the beaches will be minimal or null.

Despite this, she added, the Zofemat workers will continue with their work of cleaning the beaches while the Secretary of the Navy will withdraw. However, they have not yet communicated anything in this regard.