The increase of sargassum, or algae, on Yucatán’s beaches, is a growing concern across the Peninsula.
Aside from being unsightly, when present in large amounts this algae can be quite smelly and make access to the ocean virtually impossible.
Several efforts have been made to utilize this unwanted form of aquatic vegetation as a productive resource.
In the past, this has mostly taken on the form of schemes of processing the sargassum and turning it into fertilizer.
But an entrepreneur, Omar Vázquez, is turning this aquatic nuisance into construction material to help house immigrants.
“What we are doing is turning the sargassum into what we like to call Sargablocks. When tightly compressed the material can be shaped into the form of bricks and offer a low-cost solution for housing,” said Omar Vázquez of BlueGreen Mexico.
Vázquez developed the Sargablock back in 2018 but has recently begun building the first homes using the novel material.
The first structure built using the Sargablock was nicknamed Casa Angelita and is now being used as a small office for the company.
But more recent construction efforts are now underway to build more Sagablock structures for people living in poverty, as well as refuges for immigrants.
Vázquez says his structures are extremely solid and durable and hopes that his technology can be used in other regions and countries to help address the ever-worsening global housing crisis.
As ocean temperatures continue to warm, there is a real fear that the arrival of large amounts of sargassum will continue to be a yearly occurrence.
A worrisome explosion of the thick, brown seaweed first appeared in 2011.