Sargassum On Our Shores

I recently watched a seven-minute video by Harvard University's George Buckley which provides a detailed explanation for the sargassum plague wreaking havoc not just on our coastline, but across the Caribbean and Mexico too. 

We have a seaweed problem, and it's called sargassum. 

This sargassum is stinky, toxic stuff, and in some cases (one tourist in Mexico drowned in it) deadly. 
 
I recently watched a seven-minute video by Harvard University's George Buckley which provides a detailed explanation for the sargassum plague wreaking havoc not just on our coastline, but across the Caribbean and Mexico too. 

Buckley calls sargassum the worst consequence to date of the Anthropocene, the geological epoch of mankind's effect on Planet Earth. 

According to Buckley, Sargassum is caused by two factors:

1. The Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico have a "fever" (both are one degree centigrade warmer than ever before). 

2. Both the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea contain high levels of nutrients due to agricultural runoff from farms in the Southern United States and the Brazilian interior.

The combination of warm water and high nutrient level causes what Buckley refers to as a "soup", and this concoction has led to unprecedented amounts of sargassum this year. 

Today Barbados declared a national state of emergency due to Sargassum. In the Yucatan Peninsula, 500 kilometers of sargassum is expected to sully the beaches of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Cancun in the coming weeks.

On Miami Beach, residents have been complaining for months that the seaweed blooms are sullying waters, killing fish, and overall, it's just a stinky, sticky mess. 

The City of Miami Beach is meeting next week to discuss solutions to this problem, which could cost tens of millions of dollars in remediation and cleanup. Some resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico have installed barriers to protect the coastline. Harvest boats are also available for purchase, and allow communities to collect the sargassum offshore before it hits the coastline and begins to decay, smelling up the entire beach and releasing toxic gases into the air. 

We must take sargassum seriously, because the future of our health and economy depends on it.

As your commissioner, I will make swimmable water one of my primary issues, and I will work with the county and city administration to make sure that we implement cutting edge sargassum containment technology. 

Your Friend,
 
Kristen


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