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Smelly algae destroyed beach tourism in Mexico

The legendary “Sargossa sea” is now lapping at the very shores of Mexican resorts…

More precisely, it splashed, and now on the beaches you just can’t go through the rubble of rotting piles of brown algae. The characteristic sulphurous smell and disgusting appearance of “grass soup” instead of pure water scared off tourists, making this season a failure in the regions of Tulum, Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Neither the millions of investments in beach cleaning nor the efforts of the Mexican army helped.

Now on the beaches just do not go through the rubble of rotting piles of brown algae
It all started in 2011, when satellite images flashed bright new spots in the ocean.The pigments in the Sargassum reflect infrared light and on screens, algae clusters glow like a forest fire, making it easier to track them. Since 2009, due to the effects of deforestation in the Amazon, excess nitrogen has been released into the waters of the Caribbean. Then it got a little colder and the sargasses started to grow. Since then, each year there has been an explosive increase in the volume of algae spots in the ocean, each larger than the previous ones.

New spots in the ocean flashed brightly in satellite images
On the screens, clusters of algae glow like a forest fire
The peaks of Sargasso breeding occurred in 2015 and 2018, by which time the former Sargossa sea had de facto ceased to exist. Instead, today there is the “great Atlantic Sargasso belt”, which seems to have divided the Atlantic from both continents of America to West Africa. There are at least 10-20 million metric tons of algae floating there, and now the currents can no longer hold this mass in one place. It spread everywhere and went into shallow water, where this stuff has never been seen. Back in the same year, 2011, the alarm was sounded in Florida, but the main blow fell on Mexico.

“The great Atlantic belt of sargassa»
At least 10-20 million metric tons of algae swim there
According to scientists, the Sargassum moved into a phase when growth is obviously superior amounts of dying algae. Therefore, it has become virtually meaningless to fight them. Residents of the region did not sit idly watching the pollution of beaches. Hoteliers in Cancun and Puerto Morelos are now spending millions each year on beach clean-up and removal of algae. Since may 2019, the Mexican Navy has reported collecting 218 tons of Sargassum, and the country’s President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has allocated $ 2.5 million in state subsidies for this purpose. Vainly.

The increase obviously exceeds the volume of dying algae
Hoteliers are now spending millions each year on clearing the beaches
“A battalion of soldiers and the same number of workers cleaned the beach from 6 am, and by 11 o’clock the water became clear. Vacationers were happy, but by dinner that day everything was again covered with seaweed. Everyone wants to watch the sunset.” This is roughly the case in traditional seaside resorts in Mexico. For example, in the cities of Cancun and Puerto Morelos, hotel occupancy decreased by 3.5% compared to last year, even though some hotels have room rates reduced by 15-25% compared to last year. What will happen next year? Disaster!

Vacationers were happy, but by the evening of the same day everything was again covered with algae
Everyone wants to watch the sunset
The worst thing about this situation is that the rapid growth of Sargassum harms not only the tourist business and people in General, but also the ocean itself. Previously, fish juveniles and other small organisms successfully hid among the drifting sparse clubs of algae, and a convenient symbiosis was observed. And now the dense “Sargasso Islands”, like fishing nets, are already destroying adult individuals-dolphins and sea turtles.

The growth of Sargassum harms both the tourist business and people, as well as the ocean itself
Now dense “Sargasso Islands”, like fishing nets, destroy dolphins and sea turtles
Sargasses have begun to change the ocean, its biosphere, and scientists fear that this will last for a long time. More precisely, forever, because there are no prerequisites to reduce the number of sail in the foreseeable future not observed. And if so, the famous beaches of Mexico can be considered irretrievably lost. Following them, the same fate is likely to befall other resorts in the Caribbean region, which will radically change the entire tourism industry of the world. Even today, passengers of huge cruise liners Express “Phi” when they are forced to swim through the dirty areas of the ocean, the pleasure of traveling goes to zero. What will happen tomorrow?

 

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