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Sargassum hits Belize hard

Posted: Saturday, August 17, 2019. 1:02 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: For the fifth consecutive year, influxes of sargassum seaweed have begun piling up on beach fronts in major tourist destinations in Belize.

Breaking Belize News has confirmed that beaches in Placencia are now covered with the seaweed, which emits a putrid odor when it begins to decompose. The influx of sargassum into the region began several months ago, but so far this year Belize had not been affected to much, even as a mass of sargassum the size of Jamaica drifted past and landed ashore in Mexico.

The sargassum seaweed phenomenon started affecting the region back in 2011. Researches have said that the phenomenon is the product of record-high global temperatures, including increasing ocean temperatures coupled with an increase in the water’s nitrogen content due to fertilizers being washed into the ocean.

In response to the phenomenon, the Government of Belize (GOB) set up a Sargassum Taskforce in 2018, a multi-agency entity chaired by the Ministry of Tourism Culture and Civil Aviation, to oversee several interventions to aid in the national sargassum response.

GOB also approved tax relief for properties affected by sargassum, pledged over $1.5 million to support cleanup efforts in affected municipalities and offered duty exemptions to importers bringing in equipment for the gathering, transportation or disposal of sargassum.

 

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