Cancun, Q.R. — The fight against sargassum will be a continual one that has already cost the state millions.
Since the problem will persist in coming years, the local government will seek to obtain an additional 610 million peso for the purchase of specialized equipment and cleaning personnel.
The strategy to combat the sargassum that lurks on the coasts of Quintana Roo will cost about 540 million peso this year alone, according to calculations by the state government.
Of this total, 280 million peso are expected to be contributed by the federal administration. Of that figure, 62 million have already been used in the cleaning processes of the beaches and the remaining 218 million peso were recently requested by the Government of Quintana Roo from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Communications and Transportation and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, but have not yet received a response.
Alfredo Arellano, secretary of Ecology and Environment of the state says these last 218 million peso will be allocated to labor for the cleaning of the alga on the beaches, rent services and boats for clean offshore and to place sea fences in coastal areas to prevent the arrival of macro algae to tourist the sites.
The Government of Quintana Roo will contribute 260 million peso for the short and long term strategy for handling sargassum, of which 120 thousand cubic meters has already been removed in the last three months alone.
Of the total state resources, 20 million peso have already been allocated to immediate actions, mostly to clean the coasts, with another 240 million peso being committed for the installation of 27 kilometers of maritime barriers that will prevent the seaweed arriving on tourist beaches, officials explained at a conference.
Arellano explained that for now, 300 meters of these sea fences, measuring between 30 and 50 centimeters wide, are being installed as part of a pilot test.
“The idea is that in 15 days, or at most three weeks, the barrier is already fully placed,” the Quintana Roo official said.
This chain of fences, which will be divided into fractions of approximately 4 kilometers throughout the state, will remain in operation until November and will be placed annually, as they assume it will be a recurring problem over the next few years.
Sargassum on the beaches of Quintana Roo will be a problem that the state will have to continue to deal with, Quintana Roo officials said at a press conference, which they say is fueled by factors such as climate change.
Therefore, they will look for 610 million extra peso for the purchase of equipment, such as boats and pumps to extract the algae, in order to permanently attend to the arrival of algae, which is not an exclusive problem in Mexico. Scientists say the sargassum is also affecting coasts of the United States, Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.