by Linda Straker
- Team to visit Martinique and St Maarten about the best practices to combat sargassum
- Japanese Government approached on behalf of OECS
Grenada has approved a team from the island to visit Martinique and St Maarten to observe and at the same time gather knowledge and information about the best practices adopted by theses territories to combat the impact of sargassum seaweed.
“Cabinet approved a team from Grenada to visit both Martinique and St Maarten, so they can have first-hand experience about what is taking place and for recommendations for equipment acquisition for us here,” Minister Simon Stiell disclosed during Tuesday’s post-cabinet briefing.
“St Maarten has a well-proven solution to the problem,” he said.
The government has spent more than EC$1 million to clean up the beaches since the sargassum started washing up in late April. It mainly affected beaches in the eastern and southern sides of the island. The fishing community, as well as persons using the beaches for recreation, were unable to use the beaches because of the influx of the seaweed covering the shores.
Informing the media that satellite images had indicated that as of September, the region would be faced with another invasion of the seaweed, he said that government would be adopting a different strategy to deal with the problem.
“September is expected to be terrible with sargassum because satellite images show a large mass of sargassum coming to our region,” said the Environment Minister who heads the Ministry of Climate Resilience.
He said that new strategy would involve using the manual labour of environment wardens to remove the seaweed and targeting mainly the decaying sargassum as well as cleaning or unblocking drains and waterways that flow directly into the sea.
“This is a priority issue for us, and priority action is taking place. This isn’t about solving a problem; the problem is too big for us to solve. It’s not just nationally but regionally It’s a matter of how we can best manage it in the short, medium and long-term.”
“In addition to that we have approached the Japanese Government on behalf of our OECS neighbours for both technical and financial support for the ongoing management for this problem,” he said.