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PDC evaluating possible closure of Playa El Recodo due to abundance of sargassum

Playa del Carmen, Q. R. — Dozens of local volunteers donated their time to remove an abundance of washed up sargassum from Playa El Recodo in central Playa del Carmen.

On Saturday, the group took to clearing the water and sand where tons of brown algae washed up in previous days. El Recodo is one of the city’s most popular beaches and, for the second year in a row, one of the most affected by sargassum.

Last year, the same beach had to be closed for several weeks while the city brought in heavy machinery to remove the mounds of algae that arrived knee-deep. It was closed in late April last year.

This year, however, the city is doing its best to try and keep up with the arrival of algae and avoid closing the beach for a second time.

On Saturday, State Secretary Cristina Torres Gómez said the issue with sargassum this year is being considered serious due to forecast arrivals. Torres said that Governor Mara Lezama has called on volunteers, in addition to state agencies, to help rescue the public beaches.

She said that on Saturday, schools, unions, citizens, as well as state and municipal governments joined for the day of sargassum removal. Torres said that government agencies are carrying out analyisis of the most affected beaches around the state in order to attend to those first.

According to the Secretary of the Navy, this year, a larger amount of sargassum is expected that what has been recorded in previous years with the possibility of being on beaches year round in smaller quantities.

Lourdes Várguez Ocampo, the Director of the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone (Zofemat) for Solidaridad said they are currenlty in the evaulating stage regarding Playa El Recodo.

Ocampo said that they have been collecting tons of sargassum from there daily, making it one of the municipality’s most affected beaches. For this reason, they may have to close it again this year.

“Yes, we are evaluating the possibility of closing it so that we can be more confident in being able to carry out the entire operation and to be able to do it without risk to the people who walk on the beach,” she commented.

She said that in coming days, Solidaridad, together with the federal government, will install the containment barrier in such a way that the algae can be removed from the sea instead of it making landfall.

Ocampo added that if that fails, a section of about 150 meters of the beach between 14th and 16th Streets could be closed until they are able to remove all the sargassum.