No quick fix to seaweed problem, says Sealy
Barbadian and visiting beachgoers can expect to face the troublesome Sargassum seaweed, which has invaded the island’s beaches, for a long time.
Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy has said that there was no “quick fix” to the problem, which has been the source of concern for residents, including the tourism sector.
Sealy revealed that he had been advised by the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU) that the problem was “not going to go away” in the near future. And he called for a “coherent” response to the challenge it posed.
“All the information we are getting from the CZMU has suggested that the problem is not going to go away. It has abated slightly because of some currents and so on recently, but there is a need to pull all of the different efforts together and to have something coherent by way of a response at different levels,” Sealy told the media at a press conference at the Warrens Office Complex this afternoon.
However, he said he expected a plan would soon be rolled out to deal with the seaweed invasion.
“I would like to think that over the course of the next week or two . . . we should start to hear something being rolled out more formally . . . . We are going to have to work as one to really combat this thing.
“It is a massive problem. It is not a seasonal problem anymore, nor is it a beach specific [problem]. It is really affecting the entire island,” he added.
Despite being unable to say how badly the seaweed had hurt the tourism sector financially, the Minister admitted it would take substantial resources to eradicate the problem.
“I can’t put a dollar figure [on it]. I’d probably be guessing. What I can say though, is that the resources involved will be significant. We accept this has gone beyond rakes and shovels and plastic bags,” Sealy acknowledged.
“When you are talking about four feet and five feet high, we can’t just mobilize people with plastic bags. I’m not discouraging it because it is good to see. But obviously, given the scale of the challenge, we will have to look at it differently.”
Sealy lamented the absence of a regional effort to deal with the problem, which is also affecting other Caribbean countries.
“There is no real regional [effort]; nothing coordinated is happening at that level. In fact, most people are probably at their wits end.
“Barbados is pretty far advanced in terms of where we are with initiatives and so on, but it is important that we have some level of coordination nationally and regionally as well,” the Minister insisted.