Beaches along much of Mexico’s Caribbean coast are covered with seaweed, also known as sargassum.
But Mexico is not alone. Several Caribbean destinations including Puerto Rico to Barbados are suffering from a similar fate.
The presence of seaweed in the Caribbean is nothing new, but has increased dramatically over the past few years.
Along several beaches such as Cancún and Playa del Carmen, large clean-up crews gather as much of the seaweed as possible, often with the aid of specialized equipment.
“This is extremely concerning. Seaweed concentration in the Caribbean is up 20% since 2018, which itself broke several records,” said a professor of Oceanography at USF, Chuanmin Hu on NPR.
The situation has become so dire that the federal government has ordered the Navy to aid in cleanup efforts.
Sargasso is a type of brown macroalgae found in temperate and tropical oceans around the world. It typically inhabits shallow water and coral reefs.
Scientists believe that the proliferation of sargassum over the last decade in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico is caused by rising sea temperatures associated with global warming.