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Cancun Has A New Plan To Drastically Reduce Sargassum Levels This Year

Cancun authorities announced this week that they will work with a local private company that guarantees to promptly get rid of the foul seaweed and transform it into biofertilizer.

Adiós al Sargazo (Goodbye, Sargassum), an ambitious new initiative by environmental agencies, was launched in response to what could be a record-breaking year for sargassum. 

Even before the algae season officially begins, extremely high levels of sargassum are already being detected on the beaches of Cancun and Isla Mujeres.

As part of the new plan, government officials in Cancun will work with a brand new private company reportedly capable of processing up to 600 tons of sargassum seaweed daily. If all goes as planned, the high-tech sargassum processing company, Dianco, could drastically reduce the amount of seaweed on several Cancun beaches.

“We are witnessing a tremendous amount of sargassum, which is abnormal compared to previous years, and as a business, we have a lot of work to do. We have the capacity to process 600 tons of sargassum per day and convert it to biofertilizer,” said in a statement Héctor Romeo Morales, the CEO of Dianco.

Sargassum can now be easily dumped dry or wet at a series of collection points in Cancun, which are then routinely emptied. Sargassum is then collected and processed at Dianco’s waste facilities, where it is made into biofertilizer. 

Sargassum removal is no easy task; in fact, Cancun relies on a vast network of cleaners – about 160 – as well as countless volunteers to remove tons of sargassum seaweed every day.

Popular beach areas in the Mexican Caribbean are preparing to clear record amounts of sargassum this year. Officials have sounded the alarm after new data suggests Cancun will see even more of the stinging macroalgae than it did in 2022, contrary to hopeful estimates made earlier this year.

Tourists Barred From Entering Caribbean Beaches In Mexico Due To Massive Amounts Of Seaweed
Photo credit: Jeremiah Rygh, Seaweed Levels in Playa del Carmen In 2022

Thus, the authorities in Cancun began cleaning long before the season and allocated more money for personnel. To increase the effectiveness of sargassum removal, Playa del Carmen, a major vacation destination about 80 kilometers south of Cancun, has placed huge containers on its popular beaches.

To prevent Sargassum from reaching nearby beaches, new barriers are also being erected in a number of Mexican Caribbean areas. However, environmental experts have argued that these measures are only a “band-aid” solution and have called for more drastic measures to effectively eradicate the seaweed.

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