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Cleaning efforts begin after Riviera Maya beaches hit hard by sargassum

Riviera Maya, Q.R. — After days of continued strong winds, most of the beaches along Riviera Maya have become saturated in sargassum. Tourists visiting Playa del Carmen are spending more time on beach loungers than water loungers due to the mass and sudden arrival of the seaweed.

Solidaridad City Council is expected to meet with federal authorities in coming days to question the lack of commitment being shown in helping to contain and remove the seaweed by local beach concession holders.

On Monday, Playa del Carmen mayor Lili Campos said that more than 2,155 tons of seaweed has already been removed from public beach areas, but stressed that not everyone is participating in its removal.

“We as a municipal government are responsible for cleaning public beaches, however, there are concession areas that have not been responding, so we are also doing the cleaning work for them,” she said.

On social media, Campos posted a note with before and after photos of the manual cleaning being done around the city. “This weekend, more than 2,155 tons of sargassum was collected from the beaches of Solidaridad. I share before and after photos,” she said.

“You  have to commit to nature and you have to commit to the concession area that you have,” she added after receiving reports from concession holders to have their beach areas manually cleaned by the city.

She says that Zofemat personnel have been receiving calls from concession holders that they woke up to a beach of sargassum. Campos says these people are telling officials that “they need hurry to get there to clean,” she said stressing that “the responsibility belongs to everyone and also, if they are concessionaires, the responsibility is doubly theirs.”

Federal efforts are expected to begin in the first days of April with the installation of anti-sargassum barriers and the operation of the navy’s at-sea sargassum collection vessels.