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Committee agrees on new proactive sargssum strategy for 2022

Riviera Maya, Q.R. — A new strategy is being implemented into the management of the state’s arriving seaweed. During a Council for the Comprehensive Sustainable Management of Sargassum 2022 meeting on Tuesday, members agreed to be proactive.

During the meeting, Rear Admiral Alejandro López Zenteno said they will begin the installation of the anti-sargassum barriers the third week of March with a goal of preventing the sargassum from reaching the beaches.

He said that in areas with known heavier accumulation, additional barrier lengths will be added. Preventing the seaweed from reaching shores will help lessen coastal contamination and help maintain a positive tourist image, he noted.

López Zenteno added that the plan also includes the use of drones to carry out aerial monitoring that will give them a heads-up for approaching masses. He explained that the use of drones will make the monitoring more efficient by saving time and fuel expenses over having their sargassum vessels roam the sea in search of approaching seaweed.

María de Lourdes Várguez, director of the Solidaridad Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone (Zofemat) and Efraín Villanueva Arcos, Secretary of the State Environment, said that another important point within the strategy is the issue of the final disposal of the algae and its treatment since this year, it will not be deposited in landfills.

“It is an algae. It does not have to be considered garbage nor wasted either. For this reason, research is being done to find ways it can be used as much as possible,” Várguez said adding that there are two companies doing just that.

Companies Dianco and C-Combinator (Carbonwave) are offering comprehensive solutions regarding the unwanted seaweed. She said they are making efforts to generate a circular economy in the management of sargassum, for which they have received recognition.

Both companies are treating the sargassum with the goal of studying it and transforming it into organic fertilizer, thus avoiding depositing this marine material in landfills.

The Rear Admiral added that instead of leaving the seaweed on beaches, part of the changes this year will include the collection and transportation of the sargassum in 22-cubic-meter containers, which will then be delivered to the specialized companies.

He says they have already made an agreement with Ultramar to use the centrally located Playa del Carmen pier. Elements of the Navy will use the pier to unload sargassum collected at sea, which he noted, will be operated by Zofemat staff.