The sargassum problem has far reaching effects since it also affects marine life, health of residents, and tourism. Reports are that thousands of fish have washed up on the beach front and can be seen floating in the Caribbean Sea near Ambergris Caye. Additionally, it is believed to be the cause of oxygen depletion in the sea that has resulted in the death of marine life. The Placencia Village Council representative also told Love News how the problem is affecting some of the residents’ health in Placencia.
Jody Yearwood Leslie Treasurer Placencia Village Council: “It is also affecting the villagers as well because we have had reports of several villagers that are beginning to have respiratory problems, asthmatic problems as a result of the sargassum and the scent that is coming, the gas that it is omitting. I know of one family that the mother, the son and the daughter are all sick and the son in asthmatic. He hasn’t had an asthma problem in a very long time but as of recently within the past week his asthma has developed back again but we are pretty sure it’s due to the fact they live very close to the beach and again because of the gases that are being omitted it is irritating his repository system as well as quite a few others.”
Yearwood-Leslie also spoke about the negative impact it is having on the tourism industry.
Jody Yearwood Leslie Treasurer Placencia Village Council: “The hotels and business that are open directly along the beachfront we are losing tourists because it is a very offensive smell. It smells like rotten egg or rotten fish so it’s very difficult to operate your tourist from walking around with their hands over their nose because the scent can be smelled all the way to the lagoon side. That’s how strong it can be at times in certain areas that are very condensed.”
The Department of the Environment, the Fisheries Department and the Belize Tourism Board will be providing support to the village with their efforts to get the problem under control.