The Government of Grenada is spending $100,000 a week to help rid the island of the Sargassum Seaweed, according to Minister of Climate Resilience, the Environment, Forestry, Fisheries, Disaster Management and Information, Senator Simon Stiell.
It has been approximately four months since the invasion of the South African generated Sargassum Seaweed has taken over most of Grenada’s coastlines and beachfronts.
Speaking to reporters at the weekly held post-Cabinet press briefing, Sen. Stiell said that there is a recognition that the problem with the seaweed is now letting up and government is on the verge of finding a permanent solution to this issue and has an action plan in place.
“We’re currently spending somewhere in the region of $100,000 a week in cleaning up the most affected areas. We cannot do all, cover the entire coastline but we’re focused on those areas where there is the greatest health risk associated with the noxious gases etc. that are generated from the decaying seaweed”, he said.
“…We’re going to continue with that but we are also working with our neighbours, working with the OECS Secretariat to look at a longer-term solution,” he added.
Sen. Stiell did not answer the specific question as to whether or not the Keith Mitchell-led ruling New National Party (NNP) government had budgeted for the money that it was currently spending on the seaweed problem.
However, he said that the job of the administration is to remove the seaweed.
Sen. Stiell disclosed that a task force is being set up in the region to start work on an initiative that will turn the seaweed into something valuable.
He said the task force that will involve affected member states in the Caribbean will “look at how we can upscale an initiative that was started in St. Lucia where there is a processing facility that converts the sargassum or extracts the nutrients out of the sargassum to produce liquid fertilizer, which is of commercial grade and is outperforming a lot of the fertilizers that are already on hardware, or stores shelves”.
“…So, the idea is how can we upscale the success that St. Lucia has seen with this so that there are production facilities on each of the affected islands.
“So, we’re collecting what some might say is a waste material and actually turn it back into an asset and what would of course turn back into a revenue source with job opportunities for those involved.”
The government minister disclosed that international funding will be sought to help advance the work on this initiative.