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Aug 26, 2015

Sargassum Still Affecting San Pedro

Sargassum, it is a regional environmental phenomenon that has been plaguing the entire Caribbean.  In areas such as Cancun, the sargassum spreads four feet deep and about a hundred feet wide along the beach and in the Caribbean island of Saint Martin; beaches have been reportedly closed off to locals and tourists. In Belize, the situation is not as extreme, but it is still a eyesore for tourists and hoteliers alike in tourism destinations across the country. Aside from business owners hiring additional staff to clean the beach on a daily basis, the Government, specifically the Ministry of Tourism, has also been providing assistance.

 

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism

“That is nature. Government on its part has been trying with whatever equipment they want to get, duty exemption to try to assist the hoteliers to make sure that they can do the best that they can to have their beaches as clean as possible. I know for a fact that in San Pedro, there is Matachica that has gotten an equipment—I haven’t seen it personally—in the value of thirty thousand U.S. dollars that in less than an hour, they will have their beaches clean. Grand Caribe also have something like a turbine that they have bought. According to the owner, he told me that within an hour also, they get rid of the sargassum. So hopefully, we will find the right solutions to deal with this natural phenomenon that is really been plaguing the beaches of Belize.”

 

Manuel Heredia Jr.

Duane Moody

“So while the sargassum is a natural phenomenon, it is not really an issue for the tourism industry?”

 

Manuel Heredia Jr.

“I wouldn’t say so. I would say that yes it has to be a problem because whenever you cannot keep your beaches, twenty-four hours a day, as white as it used to be, it is indeed a problem. There are some tourists that will come specifically to bathe in the shallow waters right in front of the beach of their resort, so it is a problem. But again, the industry realizes that we all have to come together and make sure that we can address it as best as possible.”

 

The San Pedro Town Council is using the sargassum as filling for the lower areas of the island. 

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