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Locals see sargassum barrier failing, however city says it’s a 3 month test project

Playa del Carmen, Q.R. — More than a week after the installation of the sargassum barriers along Playa del Carmen, both businesses and residents are questioning if it actually works.

So far, the state has paid 11 million peso for the seaweed barriers which suddenly seem to be failing at keeping the sargassum in the sea. With the onslaught on another arrival, a large amount of the seaweed was able to bypass the barrier and land on the beach resulting in fishing nets being used to scoop the seaweed onto shore for manual removal.

Both Alejandro Carrillo, responsible for the installation of barriers, and Enrique Resendiz, director of operations, have justified the lack of results, saying that an atypical arrival of seaweed caused them to have to redirect the barriers.

“During the stage of the relocation of the containment barriers, we received an outbreak of atypical sargassum(…), Group Ar.Co immediately began preventative measures,” said the director of operations.

Alejandro Carrillo also said that the barriers are being misused as swimmers are using the yellow inflatable barriers to rest on.

He said it would take about two months to eradicate the arrival of sargassum along the beaches, adding that these days, due to the swells, the macro algae has been able to cross the barriers.

Francisco Aguilar, a local tourist service provider, says “The company is doing tests with public money, but their tests only benefit them and not tourism, not beaches, not entrepreneurs, not citizens, not anyone.

“Actually there is no clear result. We can only see sargassum during the desperate actions of the company, such as putting a fishing net in the water to collect the seaweed because they saw that their barriers were not working.”

Municipal mayor Cristina Torres Gómez says that the investment for these tests has been 11 million peso and “What is planned is to study how this project progresses to see how the other trust can be funded, but it is part of the studies.

“There is a three-month period of evaluation, and if after those three months it turns out to be as successful as it is being proposed, then the project will be further expanded in other areas.

“The first stage is 11 million peso with the intent to expand for a total of 45 million, depending on the results,” said Torres Gómez.

In mid-August, the sargassum barriers were proving successful at their test site in Cancun and were placed in waters along Playa del Carmen two weeks later.