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Cancun, Riviera Maya continue to battle the arrival of sargassum seaweed

Riviera Maya, Q.R. — Municipalities along the coast continue to battle the arrival of sargassum as more and more of the seaweed makes landfall. In Puerto Morelos, more than 50 workers line the shores armed with tools, while similar sights are taking place in areas like Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

José Luis Chacón of Municipal Public Services of Puerto Morelos said that dozens of workers are on the beaches every day manually removing the algae that washes up.

“We have had constant sargassum arrivals, but we do not have rotten sargassum or seaweed in a state of decomposition on the coast, so our visitors can enjoy the destination,” said the government official.

He said currently, an average of 120 to 125 tons of sargassum are lifted from the public beaches of Puerto Morelos every day. He says they are battling two complicated areas, one in front of the technical secondary school in the southern part of the coast and the second, in front of the La Ceiba property.

Luis Chacón says they are working in coordination with the secretary of the navy to combat the problem. That, in addition to the 1,125 linear meters of marine barrier that has been placed off the shores. “We are collaborating for the placement, in the month of June, of another thousand meters more to contain the sargassum,” he explained.

“We are keeping an eye on the monitoring of the arrival of sargassum,” he said adding that monitoring has found another batch “coming from the South Atlantic that is approaching and could impact the coasts of the Mexican Caribbean, so we are preparing to take care of this possibility.”

In Playa del Carmen, more than 1,400 tons of sargassum has been removed from beaches. Personnel of the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone Directorate (Zofemat) are maintaining permanent surveillance along six kilometers of the city’s beaches.

Work to remove the seaweed is being done from Playa Caribe to Playa El Recodo, where this past Saturday, there was an atypical recall of approximately 350 to 400 tons. Marco Loeza Pacheco of Zofemat says that so far, 60 percent of it has been removed.

He says that the arrival was due to winds coming from the east-southeast, which led to its landfall.

In Cancun, Playa Marlin was the latest beach to fall victim to a mass landfall of sargassum. Wagner Elbion Vega, municipal director of the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone (Zofemat) for Cancun explained that on Saturday, the sargassum arrived unexpectedly and was stationary in front of Playa Marlin.

He explained that on Saturday from 6 in the morning, a municipal brigade of about 80 people per shift arrived at the beach, removing 70 tons of seaweed by the end of the day. However, seeing the large amount that was still there, a brigade of another 30 people returned on Sunday. He said over those two days, about 120 tons of sargassum was manually cleaned from Playa Marlin.

Elbion Vega says that the amount of sargassum varies according to the water temperature and that these are the months of greatest arrival.