Shocking Videos Of Sargassum Invading This Popular Mexican Beach Town Go Viral

Over the last few days, several TikTokers, YouTubers and Facebook users have shared on their social media platforms shocking videos of alarming quantities of sargassum on Playa del Carmen beaches and waters.

“You can’t swim. Boats are stuck. Rocks are buried. There is no human force that can handle this sargassum,said @chachorivera in a viral YouTube video last week.

A short version of that video has over 1.6 million views on his TikTok account.

The YouTuber explains that the biggest arrival of seaweed is concentrated in the center of Playa del Carmen and that other beaches in the municipality are almost clean, like Playa Mamita.

In the footage, workers are operating heavy machinery to collect algae. But there are so many tons of organic material that those efforts look pointless.

“Hoteliers only want to profit from the beaches, but they do not invest to solve the problem,” a user lamented.

But the thing is that they do. Some resorts have even hired hundreds of workers to keep their own beaches clean.

“Some hotels have up to 300 employees ready to collect sargassum, depending on the resort’s size, because there are some with very large beach fronts,” said Jesús Almaguer Salazar, President of the Hotel Association of Cancun, Puerto Morelos and Isla Mujeres.

For their part, national and local authorities have invested millions in new “sargasero” vessels, ocean barriers and heavy machinery to collect sargasum in the open sea as well as on the beach.

The Navy Region is installing up to 8,600 meters of anti-sargassum barriers. This reinforces the labor of 22 small boats, an ocean vessel, four beach sweepers, 11 algae collectors, and eight amphibious bands to control sargassum in 2024.

Another Facebook user reports a worrisome situation in Playacar, where waters look absolutely brown and uninviting.

“…And this is just two km up towards the ferry pier at Playacar beach as well – Impossible to enter the water last two days and it’s piling up – maybe less cleaning going on the weekend ..,” Nora K.

The hard truth is that sargassum is increasingly becoming an uncontrollable issue. Its arrival is impacting marine life and tourism from West Africa to South Florida.

The tourism sector is being heavily impacted because sargassum makes aquatic activities difficult or impossible. Let alone that, when it decomposes, it releases hydrogen sulfide gas that smells like rotten eggs.

Marsh’s team, some researchers from the University of York, the West Indies, and Ghana have created SARTRAC, a multidisciplinary team to forecast and monitor sargassum.

According to these experts, by 2050, sea waters would be too hot for sargassum to survive in the Atlantic Ocean, so it might start invading the coasts of Portugal and the Canary Islands in Spain.