The beaches of Mexico has been facing a seaweed crisis in recent months, and now the Mexican Navy is getting involved to combat the problem of keeping the beaches clean.
The seaweed is known as sargassum, and it is a type of brown algae that is normally found in the Caribbean Sea. It is usually seen as a good thing, as it provides homes and food for seals, fish, sea turtles and birds.
However, this year the beaches are amok with the stuff, causing displeasure to many beach-goers.
The sargassum in Mexico is coming from an overgrowth of the seaweed in the Caribbean Sea. Earlier this year in July, researchers found nearly 12,300 square miles of sargassum in that area. This is enough seaweed to cover the entire state of Maryland. Four years ago, researchers were only able to locate 2,300 square miles of sargassum, showing that levels are extremely up.
No firm reason for this overgrowth has been confirmed, but scientists suspect that it might have something to do with climate change, shifting currents and fertilizer runoff.
Meanwhile, in Mexico, officials are doing everything they can to control the outbreak.
The Mexican government has hired workers and bulldozers to try and keep the beaches clean. The sight of workers picking up seaweed in front of Cancun’s luxurious tourist hotels is quite common.
So far, the government has spent $9.2 million in seaweed removal. Additionally, the hotels themselves are also shelling out large amounts of resources on their own, as their businesses are at stake.
Even the Mexican Navy is working on the situation, as workers are tracking the sargassum to prevent it from reaching the beaches. Officials from the country have said that they are considering putting up barriers and underwater pumps to prevent seaweed buildups in the future.
Many people in Mexico are worried that the seaweed will destroy the tourist industry in the country. Mexico uses its famous beaches to bring in over $8 billion annually from tourism. People will easily take their money elsewhere if they have a bad time at the beach because of pesky seaweed.
Even though workers are doing their best, seaweed still remains a major problem in the country. With tourism season picking up, all they can do for now is continue their efforts and hope that some visitors don’t mind the ocean’s offerings.