Seaweed Mountains in Mexican Beach Towns Affect Tourism And Pose Health Risks

These are visible in beach towns like Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Xcalak; these towns used to serve as a gateway to paradise.

Playa del Carmen

Owing to nature’s wrath, some of Mexico’s beaches are witnessing smelly sargassum seaweed. Sargassum is a mixture of algae that releases hydrogen sulphide gas. It is dangerous to nature as well as to workers who are working to clean up the Caribbean coast. This year, the workers are seeing mountains of sargassum.

Sargassum is odious in nature. They smell like rotting eggs and exude sulphur. These are visible in beach towns like Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Xcalak; these towns used to serve as a gateway to paradise.

Now, scientists believe that this might cause respiratory problems for workers who are toiling hard to remove the seaweed under the scorching sun. The amount has surpassed the worst track record since 2018, according to media reports.

According to an article published in the Journal of Travel Medicine, 2019, it talked about the effects of seaweed. As per a media report, the article read," More chronic exposure to these gasses can lead to conjunctival and neurocognitive symptoms such as memory loss and impaired balance, as well as non-specific symptoms such as headache, nausea and fatigue."

Healthwise, even though sargassum does not pose a threat to tourists, it has an irreversible effect on workers. Thousands of people have migrated to the coast in recent years, but now they are planning to leave due to alarming health issues.

However, the tourism industry will have to face the blow as it may impact locals.

Yet, it is difficult to gauge the impact on tourism. Due to covid-19 pandemic, the Caribbean coast had a lower number of tourists, despite Mexico never imposing travel restrictions, testing requirements, or mandatory mask rules. Americans used to travel to Mexico for vacations.

On the other hand, international tourism might have witnessed a dip. According to a research report by Grupo Financiero Base, the determining factor behind the dip is not yet clear. Sargassum, inflation, or war in Ukraine are all possibilities.

In conclusion, the tourist rates are still low compared to pre-pandemic levels.

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