Cancun, Q.R. – Workers hit the beaches as tons of unwanted Sargasso washes up, covering shorelines for miles.
Eduardo Mariscal de la Selva, director of the Federal Maritime Zone for Benito Juárez, says that the grass has arrived because of Earl.
Backhoes have gone into action on Cancun beaches in an attempt to remove the unwanted seagrass. Cancun’s Gaviota Azul beach in the popular hotel zone has been hardest hit with more than 8,000 cubic meters of shore and beachline covered.
Since the Sargasso is organic, officials have found burying it deep within the sand an effective way to be rid of it; however, with so much area to cover, it’s a very laborious procedure.
Leonel Torres, City Council beaches coordinator, says that patches of seaweed that are in the water will be raked and buried as it hits the shore. Sargasso clean-up crews can be seen from Punta Cancún to Playa Chac Mool as manual labor is supported with backhoe machines and a mechanical sweeper to bury the grass.
During high season, Torres says that Cancun beaches see over 6,000 visitors per day.
In Playa del Carmen, shifts of 8 men attempt to remove the Sargasso by piling it in the back of large dump trucks. Beaches as far north as Isla Mujeres have been affected as municipal authorities scramble to remove the seaweed as quickly as possible.