Cancún Resort Implements Extensive Seaweed Barrier and Cleanup Strategy to Protect Beaches

A Cancún resort has implemented an innovative approach to combat the invasion of Sargassum seaweed, an issue plaguing the Mexican Riviera and Caribbean resorts for over a decade. Utilizing a nearly 2-mile-long barrier made of Kevlar and marine-grade PVC, the resort’s team of 40 works tirelessly, 12 hours a day, year-round, to keep the beaches clear. This comprehensive strategy not only involves blocking and removing the seaweed before it reaches the shore but also includes environmentally conscious methods of disposal and beach reforestation efforts, showcasing a proactive stance against this growing ecological challenge.

  • The barrier, one of the longest in Mexico, serves as the resort’s primary defense against Sargassum seaweed.
  • 40 staff members work 12 hours a day throughout the year to maintain clear beaches.
  • The resort’s strategy includes monitoring, blocking, and removing seaweed to maintain tourist expectations for pristine beaches.
  • Seaweed that gets trapped behind the barrier is collected before it decomposes and emits unpleasant odors.
  • The barrier helps to divert seaweed to “sacrifice zones” on the edges of the property, away from guest areas.
  • Shifting wind patterns and ocean currents have exacerbated the Sargassum issue, affecting over 30 countries and territories.
  • Unlike other resorts, which may dispose of seaweed in dumps or jungles, this resort dries and separates the seaweed to recover sand and use decomposed seaweed nutrients for beach reforestation.
  • The resort has successfully reestablished eroded beach areas, adding about 80 feet of beach in some parts over the past decade.
  • Maintenance of the barrier and equipment is crucial, especially as Sargassum levels increase during the summer.
  • Research and satellite tracking of Sargassum are ongoing to understand and mitigate its impact on beach tourism and ecology.

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