Sargassum Seaweed is back and more of it is seen on many of the nation’s beaches, plaguing these recreational areas with a strong stench.
In this regard, though it is being viewed as a regional problem and should be handled as such, government has taken a decision to clean up the beaches and dump the seaweed at two designated sites.
An area in Pearl’s, St. Andrew and an area in Mt. Harman, St. George’s has been identified to be the dumping ground for the seaweed.
Minister of Health, Nickolas Steele is heading a sub-committee, consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture to roll out the initiative that started on Tuesday.
According to the Health Minister who was addressing members of the media at the weekly held post-Cabinet Press Briefing at the Ministerial Complex on Tuesday, the beaches from Carriaocu and all the way down to the Lance Aux Epines will be cleaned.
“That process should start today (May 8th), tomorrow (May 9th) for the latest. Sub-Contractors or contractors have been contracted – three in Grenada and we are finalising for Carriacou today as well so that they can start immediately for the clean-up. That is an interim fix because this (has become) most evident that this not only is it a regional challenge and issue but it is a reoccurring annual challenge and issue…”
“We are being sensitive to the environment, that our beaches are, apart from them being plagued by the Sargassum Weed, our beaches are also home to Turtles and the nesting of turtles and trying to be as sensitive as possible to the environment but we have to address the health issues of our people first and foremost.
“The inconvenience or in most cases (beaches) that I visited – all of the beaches on the East Coast in Grenada (are) in intolerable conditions of which the residence have had to exist.
Once placed in the designated sites, the minister said, the seaweed when dried will have no odour and can be used by farmers for compost purposes.
In addition, Minister Steele said that the issue of the Sargassum Seaweed will be handled regionally and as mandated by Cabinet, government will approach the OECS Secretariat and other regional entities to look at it as one of the effects of Climate Change.
He said a regional solution and funding must be found to handle this issue.
“It cannot be that the governments consistently, every year finding an adhoc amount to deal with the situation. It is apparent this year, that the seaweed that is coming ashore is more than last year and in more beaches than last year.
Therefore, the budget allocation is going to be possibly greater than that of last year; therefore, the need to deal with it on a regional basis and to have a contingency plan or co-founding set up to deal with all of the islands that are being plagued by this,” he added.