Seaweed battler Arthur

If there is one person who is concerned about the Sargassum seaweed taking over the island’s beaches, and about the potential impact it could have on the island’s tourism, it is Arthur Collymore.

So concerned is the self-employed 54-year-old, that almost every day, instead of focusing on pushing his small business which has taken a downturn because of the economic climate, he is to be seen cleaning up the unsightly algae, particularly on the South Coast.

Almost daily, from morning till evening, he may be found at the beach solely raking up the seaweed and filling buckets, which he dumps.

Arthur Collymore is committed  to cleaning up the Sargassum seaweed  off the beaches.
Arthur Collymore is committed to cleaning up the Sargassum seaweed off the beaches.

But Collymore did tell Barbados TODAY that last weekend he had been joined on the Silver Sands, Christ Church beach by members of the Barbados Defence Force, Cadet Corps and Brownies from the Christ Church Girls’ School, among other volunteers.

The majority of the times, it is just him, he says, and he is “determined to do something” about the seaweed.

Collymore started in 2011 when the free-floating algae, originating in the Sargasso Sea, came to the shores of Barbados. It was on the same Silver Sands Beach he spent three months cleaning up.

“It was bad then; but, at times, it looks as though it is worse now. And, it came in for a longer period this time around. This is worse than 2011.

“This thing is bad. On Saturday, me and the other teams had done a thorough clean-up of Silver Sands, but by yesterday it was the same way it was the day before,” the self-employed man said.

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Collymore, who sees his work as carrying out a national duty, says he could do with some more help. Apart from the assistance he got last weekend, it is not often he has anyone contributing to his effort.

And, he thinks employees of the National Conservation Commission (NCC) should be doing much more. He however noted that this morning NCC workers came to the beach and carried away part of a huge pile he had gathered.

“Before I came here, I was down Miami Beach two weeks ago when it was bad, and they were not helping. This is what they are being paid for; I am not getting paid. I can’t do it alone,” Collymore remarked.

Noting Barbados was still a popular tourist destination, Collymore said he believed a greater effort should be coming from Government and stakeholders of the industry to clean up the seaweed.

“When I was cleaning Miami Beach, there were times when tourists and also locals came there; and they turned back.

“When you come to this country and you pay money, you don’t want to be seeing the beaches with all this seaweed, and have this kind of experience. It is unsightly and we have to do something about it,” Collymore said.

The Sargassum seaweed is also affecting other beaches on the island, particularly on the North Coast and East Coast.

4 Responses to Seaweed battler Arthur

  1. Simone Gibbons
    Simone Gibbons May 5, 2015 at 6:18 am

    So, to repeat a conversation I had with classmates a few days ago, couldn’t we all do this instead of sitting down and complaining about it?

  2. James Franks May 6, 2015 at 11:58 am

    You have my sympathy Arthur and your view that it will affect tourism is wholly accurate.

    The Government should be taking this seaweed issue more seriously as if it continues, i for one will not return to Barbados and i am not alone with this thinking.

    Good luck with your efforts and i do hope you get some meaningful assistance soon.

  3. Ralph Talma May 7, 2015 at 10:40 am

    1. Full marks to Mr Collymore for his splendid efforts.
    2. Yes. This unsightly plant will be frowned upon, by tourists on whom we are most reliant.
    3. Why not use the plant as fertiliser? That is what happens here in the UK, in certain locations.
    4. In the interim, I wish him good luck with his excellent endeavours.

  4. Taylor May 15, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    I would like to help Mr. Collymore as he is really doing the right thing but I already work 16 hours a day 7 days a week to survive. I have a small guesthouse on the south coast. I agree with Mr. Collymore that the Government need to step in. The hotels on the affected beaches should provide staff to clean the beaches every day. They are the ones who make the most money and should have an interest to keep the beaches clean or the tourist go somewere else. We have about 500 Soldiers and many scout clubs which should be taking care of all the beaches which the tourist like to see in rural areas as there are no hotels in those areas.

    The Government need to find a way to catch the sea weed before
    it can land in Barbados. Maybe the coast guard can put out nets or some other barrier to catch the see weed.

    If we don’t react seriously soon we will lose so many tourist that the Government wouldn’t receive enough taxes to pay staff and any other cost.

    Barbados has not much to offer to the tourist.

    White sandy beaches and a blue sea is the minimum we have to provide or the tourist will be going somewere else for their next vacation.

    You get a bad images fast and it takes years to lose it.

    Please all Barbadians take this serious, it is a tread to our Island which can damage everything we have right now. Do what you need to do and don’t waiste any time.

    We have to come all together in an effort to survive this greatest problem Barbados had since 60 years.

    May God help us as well.


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