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Local technology students turn sargasso into fertilizer

Cancun, Q.R. – Local university students may have found a new use for the masses of unwanted Sargasso that’s been accumulating along Cancun and Riviera Maya beaches.

A group of technology students from Tech Felipe Carrillo Puerto say that the kelp can be collected from the beaches, composted and used as fertilizer on farms in local villages.

Coral Horacio de Jesus Aguilar, director of the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone, confirmed that the idea is in the works. He said that those [businesses] interested in trying to do something productive with the algae have been dropping it off at a designated site. Workshops have been given about treatment of the Sargasso seaweed and its benefits for production purposes.

He explained that, “The Ministry of Environment has authorized us to use a site at Caracol to deposit the seaweed. There we have done workshops and treatment on the algae and sent the results to the hotel.”

Coral Aguilar said that, “At a meeting we had in Cancun the technology students explained what needs to be done. In this circumstance, you are dealing with many levels of government including municipal, state and federal.”

According to Aguilar, they have already consulted with specialists to determine the feasibility of converting the kelp into fertilizer. They are hoping to do a similar program to the one in France where they turn their unwanted seaweed into natural fertilizer.

The group has also already been in contact with members from the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) to manage the arrival of a special machine used to collect Sargasso directly from the water. If approved in coming months, it would be a pilot project.

The director said that right now, they are collecting about 35 tons of seaweed per day, but in the coming weeks, could collect more if they had about 950 workers designated by the Temporary Employment Program (PET). The temporary work program set up to hire laborers to remove the sargasso seaweed from the beaches are paid 68 peso per day.

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