Riviera Maya, Q.R. — During the current sargassum season, Cancun and Riviera Maya hotels are spending between 70,000 and 90,000 peso a month on the removal of seaweed from their beaches.
Head of the Riviera Maya Hotel Association, Toni Chávez, explained that the costs to control the sargassum are very high since it involves the deployment of barriers anchored to the sea bed and daily cleaning, both manually and with machines. To that is also the expense of removal and daily deposits.
He said on average, some hotels are spending upward of 90,000 peso a month to keep their beaches clear of the sargassum. He says since this season is expected to last longer than other seasons, hotels are bracing for an extra expense in the order of half-a-million peso.
While he acknowledged that the support of the Navy with the collection of seaweed is welcome, the volumes that they manage to collect at sea are minimal compared to what is collected from the beaches.
He explained that while the Navy reports having collected around 500 tons at sea during the current season, on the beaches, the hotels have collected more than 5,000 tons, which speaks of the insufficient deployment of sargasso ships.
Chávez says that the navy sargassum vessels are very slow moving, which only allows them one beach pass per day. He says once the vessels are loaded, there are no docks along the coast for them to unload, which means unloading the collected seaweed into the water where it is collected again by smaller boats, brought to land and then eventually disposed of, noting it is a very time consuming process.
Given the current situation, he is requesting that the state government use a portion of the tourist tax being collected to construct a dock where the navy vessels can unload sargassum and speed up the collection process.