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Officials consider fining beach concession holders for failing to remove sargassum

Playa del Carmen, Q.R. — Playa del Carmen city council says a meeting will be held with federal authorities to consider fining concession holders for not cleaning their beach areas.

The announcement was made shortly after the mass arrival of sargassum along Riviera Maya beaches. While all public beaches in Playa del Carmen have already been cleaned of the washed up seaweed, many beach areas in front of hotels have not.

Rather than clean their own beach, some have instead, made a call to either city council or to Zofemat to remove the unwanted sargassum. Playa del Carmen mayor Lili Campos says that concession holders are responsible for cleaning their own areas.

Campos says after the calls, she will be scheduling a meeting with officials from Semarnat and Profepa to consider imposing fines on concession holders who do not remove the sargassum from their beach areas.

Lourdes Várguez, head of Solidaridad Zofemat, explained that there are around 245 concession holders along the coast of the municipality in addition to the 230 occupants of small businesses along the federal zone.

“They have all the obligations that any concessionaire has. Of these 500 people who occupy the federal zone, we do have a large number that do not clean,” she said.

Campos said if approved, handing out fines for failing to remove the seaweed will fall on the shoulders of those federal agencies, and not with the city, however, her administration will seek to hold them accountable.

“The maximum sanction will be the revocation of their concession because if they are not responsible for what they assumed, then definitely, there must be some consequence,” said the mayor.

According to Campos, 2,155 tons of sargassum has already been removed from Playa del Carmen beaches.