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Sargasso program about to end, but Cozumel’s not ready

Cozumel, Q.R. – Sargasso clean up along the beaches of Cozumel are still being done by hand even though the collection program is about to end.

Unlike other areas along the mainland, seaweed that collected along the island’s beaches was removed by manual labor.

Dzay Julio Cesar Aguilar, director of Federal Maritime Zone (Zofemat), and said that requests have been made to extend the temporary employment program put in place to remove the kelp.

The municipality of Cozumel was not considered when machines were brought in to remove the masses of kelp from Cancun and Riviera Maya beach front properties. September 11 concludes the temporary employment program for the removal of the kelp that began on August 10, however, Sargasso continues to make landfall along some of the shores of Cozumel.

Cesar Aguilar says that cleanup efforts have not yet stopped and that so far, they have collected and removed more than 400 tons of seaweed by hand. He says there are more than 350 people continually working at cleaning the beaches of Sargasso seaweed and that all of the work to date has been done with shovels and wheelbarrows in order to protect the nesting turtles.

As for bringing in a boat to collect the kelp in the sea before it makes landfall, he said this option was not available to Cozumel because the currents and waves in the eastern portion where the most kelp collects, are very strong.

According to Zofemat, these boats are designed for calm waters. However in the west, which is where the channel is located between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel, use of a boat could be useful, but for now, is not being contemplated, he said.

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