Capitalise on seaweed benefits

[Barbados] Seeking profit, even from the imposition of the Sargassum seaweed, sounds like a good option to utilize the thousands of pounds of the seaweed which has invaded the eastern, southern and south-eastern beaches of this country. It is an eye-sore, but this country has long been know for ensuring that we make the best of any situation. So why not with this current invasion of seaweed?

We know that some beaches have been inundated with the colourful seaweed and the problems which it has caused for nesting sea turtles, who come on shore to lay their eggs. Many turtles have been killed as they have been tangled up in the seaweed and could not make it back into the water in time.

The seaweed presents a clear and present danger to the tourism industry. The seaweed has been piled up in huge quantities and has prevented many from enjoying the beautiful and normally crystal clear waters off the white, sandy beaches on this island. It requires us to put our heads together, stop complaining and griping, and find solutions to this problem.

One possible solution would be for government or a private sector interest to work out some possible solution to the seaweed. First, that would entail harvesting the seaweed before it comes onshore, or collecting it when it washes up naturally on the beaches.

It should be noted that, historically, the Sargassum seaweed has been a part of this region. The weed is known to float on the surface of the water and move where the tides move. Given the fact that the weed is self-reproducing, it means that it can expand in size at an alarming rate.

So what about uses for the weed? It was noted that a product known as Sargassum Herbal tea, was developed where the weed was dried and used in warm water.

It can be used as a fertiliser also. The fact remains that if the weed is harvested and dried, it represents an excellent source of compost material and could be an industry during the down time for sugar factories, once the 2015 Sugar harvest is over.

The drying machines which are used to process sugar canes during the Crop can be put to work and provide employment for those who will be have challenges during the off-season. We would accept that this is something which the unions and the managers of the sugar industry can organise in the best interest of the country.

The underlying challenge which we must accept is that climate change is a factor. The seaweed, which normally inhabits the North Atlantic ocean, has drifted south and east, and is impacting the Eastern Caribbean countries. We must be prepared to accept it is a growing part of the norm.

Soaring temperatures and drier conditions are also something which we must note also. The United Nations World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) recently warned of significant changes in weather patterns – including soaring temperatures and wildfires in North America and widespread in south China.

The seas are getting warmer and issues such as seaweed invasions are going to become more pronounced. It is a sad reality, but we have it within us to step up and face it, rather than to sit back and gripe or complain about it.

 

View original article at: Capitalise on seaweed benefits

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