Government to identify new equipment for sargassum fight

Within a few weeks Antiguans and Barbudans will see new equipment on island which will aid in the fight against the sargassum seaweed.

Cabinet had agreed to the purchasing of machines to collect the smelly substance at sea, but that plan was squashed since it was deemed that the identified machines were not the right equipment for the job.

During the recently concluded, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), 5th meeting of the Council of Ministers of Environmental Sustainability in Montserrat, a request was made to the Martinique delegation, for assistance in identifying the suitable equipment, since it was agreed that they were more experienced than other OECS member states, in dealing with this issue.

Health, Wellness and the Environment Minister Molwyn Joseph has disclosed that within a few weeks his ministry would receive

a list of the proper equipment recommend by Martinique.

“The objective is, before the next tourism season, that we can make significant progress in cleaning up our beaches and to implement some of the measures that were agreed to at the meeting. The issue of sargassum should be considered urgent because of the severe impact it is having, not only on the tourism industry but the lifestyle and livelihood of the people in the Caribbean,” he said.

Joseph also cautioned that going forward, necessary measures need to be put in place, for the sargassum season, like one would make arrangements for the hurricane season.

“We have made the assumption that this is going to be an annual thing, and the same way we prepare for hurricanes we have to prepare for sargassum because there is such a thing as sargassum season,” the minister said.

One of the agreements coming from the environmental ministers meeting, was that barriers should be erected around the beaches to keep the sargassum away from the shores and conduct the cleaning behind the barriers.

The sargassum seaweed has forced the closure of a number of hotels on the country’s coastline as well as affected marine life.