Authorities on Mexico’s Caribbean coast are battling an “alarming” invasion of foul-smelling brown algae, which has accumulated on beaches in the region.
Seaweed, known as sargassum, is washing up on the shores of white sand beaches just as tourists are starting to return to the country after the pandemic, according to an ABC News report.
“We can say that the current situation is alarming,” said Secretary of the Navy José Ojeda, who led operations to collect sargassum at sea before it reached the beaches.
The Navy currently has 11 Sargassum collecting boats in the Caribbean.
So much seaweed is reaching the beaches that hotels and local authorities are reportedly using bulldozers and backhoes to collect the seaweed-like plant.
The big machines also pick up sand and contribute to beach erosion, said Rosa Rodríguez Martínez, a biologist in the seaside town of Puerto Morelos who studies reefs and coastal ecosystems for the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
“There’s so much sargassum that you can’t use small-scale equipment anymore, you have to use heavy equipment, and when the excavators come in, they remove more sand,” she told the outlet.
Experts fear that the current sargassum accumulation could surpass the records set in 2018.
New York Post