Photo Credit: Courtesy of BBC News
Mexico's Top Beaches Have Been Hit With Seaweed Infestation, Resulting In 'Rotten Egg' Smell
There is an invasion of seaweed-like algae along the shores of Mexico’s most frequently visited beaches.
The infestation is causing locals to turn against the President, who according to BBC, describes the problem as only a “minor issue”.
Many researchers believe the seaweed epidemic, called sargassum, is a result of climate change.
Professor of Oceanography at South Florida University’s College of Marine Science, Chuanmin Hu told AP, “Because of global climate change we may have an increased upwelling, increased air deposition, or increased nutrient source from rivers, so all three may have increased the recent large amounts of sargassum.”
The clear waters and white-sand beaches have now been covered by sargassum, resulting in brown water and strong, unpleasant odor.
For the past few years, nets have been placed by hotels to keep the sargassum from washing up on the shores of beaches.
According to the local government, works and volunteers have been coming together to clean up the shores with shovels and wheelbarrows — collecting as much as one ton of seaweed everyday.
Unfortunately, the removal is time-consuming, expensive and ineffective.
This year, over 621 miles of beaches in Mexico have been impacted — this includes Cancún, Playa del Carmen and Tulum in Quintana Roo estate.
Locals have written a letter of complaint to express their feelings of authorities not taking this situation seriously.
Turquesa News reports, “Most months of the year our beaches have lost the crystalline color of their waters and their shades of blue and turquoise green. Seagrass and fish die because of the lack of light and oxygen. The turtles and coral reef are also affected.”
They also report that the sargassum “produces an acid gas with a rotten egg smell [when it decomposes] that can be harmful to human health.”
BBC reports that the head of the Mexican Navi, Rafael Ojeda, says authorities will spend $2.7 million on building four boats designated for the removal of seaweed as well as building new barriers to retain it.
The sargassum infestation was first reported in 2014 and since then, it has worsened each year.
The Cancún-Puerto Morelos hotels state that cleaning up the beaches this year will result in a $36.7 million cost.