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Editorial – Friday, July 12 – 2019

Editorial – Friday, July 12 – 2019
July 12
12:45 2019

This floating seaweed thing- sargassum – has become a major headache for countries like Belize which depend on tourism and fisheries for their economic well-being.

The problem was first noticed in 2013 when the first waves of unwanted seaweed began to pile up on once-pristine beaches of the eastern seaboard and the Caribbean.

Today there is a floating mass of seaweed stretching from West Africa to the Gulf of Mexico. It has become the biggest seaweed bloom in the world.

It is a big, big nuisance, and marine biologists are of the view that it will not go away, because there has been a sea change in the weather.

As of June 2018 the sargassum belt extended some 5,500 miles across, and represents about 20 million tons of biomass which becomes very unpleasant when it starts to decay. Its impact on marine life has not yet been determined, but such a massive invasion of the ocean by this rogue seaweed cannot bode well for the future.

The experts have determined that the seaweed bloom is not directly due to warmer weather, but may be caused by a leaching of fertilizer into the ocean. It coincides with another phenomenon we face, the super-abundance of throw-away plastic, but there seems to be no correlation between these two behemoths.

Experts are now convinced that the sargassum has its origins in the Gulf of Mexico and from there it surges out into the Caribbean and the Atlantic. The Pacific Ocean has not been invaded in this way, so it seems that any scientific inquiry must begin with the Gulf.

Has somebody been dumping noxious waste material in the Gulf?

Will the United States and Mexico agree on a joint venture to investigate this extraordinary proliferation of wild sea grass?

Certainly the country which has done so much on the exploration of the Planet Mars can spare some of its resources to investigate the marine problem which threatens to overwhelm the Atlantic!

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