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Sargassum-plagued Belizean beaches make international news

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Posted: Tuesday, July 5, 2022. 6:32 pm CST.

Photo Courtesy: MBECA Minister Andre Perez

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: “Pristine beaches in Mexico and Belize are covered in carpets of foul-smelling seaweed,” reads Euronews’ headline in an article in which the media house tells the story of tons of seaweed washing ashore on Mexican and Belize beaches and the efforts by local authorities to clean up the mess.

As we are very aware in Belize, sargassum poses a problem to coastal communities such as Placencia, Hopkins, San Pedro, and Caye Caulker to name a few here in Belize. EuroNews says the same is happening next door in Mexico at places such as Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen.

“Millions of tons of brown seaweed is washing up along Mexico’s beaches and it’s putting the country’s post-COVID travel boom at risk,” said EuroNews adding that “24.2 million tons of sargassum were recorded in the last month in the Caribbean region, up from 18.8 million tons in May”.

According to EuroNews hotel chains and restaurants on the beaches in both Belize and Mexico are working putting together “taskforces of dozens of island workers to try and deal with it”.

Indeed, that’s what happens. In June the San Pedro Town Council (SPTC) and the Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation (MBECA) conducted a sargassum cleanup in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye on the occasion of the Belize Barrier Reef 10,000th Birthday Celebration and World’s Ocean Day 2022.

EuroNews said the San Pedro Town Council announced in March that it spends around $40,000 yearly on sargassum cleanup.

But, sargassum cleanup is not done only on social occasions, it is actually done daily but the massive amounts of sargassum just keep piling up.

 

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