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Masses of seaweed continue to invade coastal communities

Belize as well as many Caribbean countries like St. Lucia are being affected by the quantity and annoying smell of sargassum which has invaded our beaches, islands and coastal communities. San Pedro, Caye Caulker, Seine Bight and Placencia are victims of sargassum invasion. The sargassum’s build-up can be seen for miles on the beach front of these communities.  Last weekend, the Placencia Village Council held a meeting with the community to address the situation. Jody Yearwood Leslie, the Treasurer for the Placencia Village Council told Love News that the community held a clean-up campaign on Sunday.

 Jody Yearwood Leslie Treasurer Placencia Village Council: “We had very good turn out. A lot of the villagers came out; everybody brought pitch forks, rakes, shovels, plastic bags and all kinds of things; we had kids helping. What we did was we were digging a trench along the seashore and we were having people in the water with the pitchforks and the rakes and they were scooping out the sea grass and they were putting it in the trenches and they were covering it back over with the sand.”

Apart from excavating trenches to bury the sargassum, Yearwood-Leslie said they also removed eighteen truckloads of sargassum from the beach front. Yearwood-Leslie said that there are also daily deposits of sargassum on the beachfront.

Jody Yearwood Leslie Treasurer Placencia Village Council: “This is an effort that is going to be ongoing. We have established a Placencia Sargassum task force that is dealing with the issue on a daily basis. We have workers that we are trying to hire or we have hired some and every day they are out there basically shoveling the sea grass that is directly close to the shore. The yellow Sargassum is still filled with microorganisms and a little bit of sea life. As it gets closer to the shore it starts to decay, it starts to decompose and by the time it hits the shore line where you would see a layer of brown Sargassum pretty much everything in it is dead so at that point it just really becomes toxic. The Sargassum here is so dense that it goes down about 3-5 feet.”

Environmentalists and climate scientists believed that the sargassum problem is as a result of climate change.