What is all the talk in Mahahual Costa Maya these days? Three things and only 3 things; sargasso, sargasso and sargasso!! (Click here for the latest update on sargasso conditions in Costa Maya) Is it still coming? How bad is it? Where is it coming from? When will it stop? What is causing it? And on and on and on … . There are also egg heads all over the world discussing, analyzing, testing, measuring, computer modeling and on and on and on … . And here we are today, for the forth summer in a row, cleaning up a continuous stream of this stuff, and to the detriment of our sore backs backs and my empty wallet in the process. It is time to stop with the questions and scientific debates, and it is time to start real action to deal with this very real problem.
I don’t labor in a lab, or ponder in a think tank, miles from the real problem. I’m actually up to my knees in it every day, so I think I can speak with some knowledge on the subject of sargasso. I’m no scientist, but I can read, and I do read what they say, often while standing knee deep in the said sargasso too!
Scientist like to debate, I think because they like being the smartest guy in the room, so they often can’t agree on what we all know to be basically true because of their stupid debates. Smoke cigarettes long enough, and you’ll die, and almost all scientist agree on that, not to mention any idiot knows from watching people die from them for a few hundred years now. But you can always find a few eggheads, usually paid by the tobacco industry, to say, “Now wait just one scientific minute here.” And as we pull tons of sargasso from the ocean, just like the “does tobacco legally cause cancer” debate, so to does the sargasso debate continue! But much of what we know, the eggheads agree on, and that should be enough to come to terms with the problem and begin to move toward dealing with it.
This is what we do know. We know that massive amounts of sargasso are now being produced in the Atlantic, more than ever before. These increases in our area are the result of huge “blooms” that originate around the Amazon River basin at rates never before seen. Satellite images have proven that also, and beyond debate. And, the phenomenon has taken place during the summer months for the last 4 years and 5 of the last 6. My sore back will verify that for any doubters. The eggheads and I all agree on all this much.
However from here the debate begins, probably because from here, someone needs to take the blame for a man made problem. Kinda like tobacco companies. So what is coming from the Amazon River that is so rich in nutrients it is feeding these blooms? Agriculture and urban run-off? Well, whose fault is that? And why do the blooms stop when the ocean waters cool in the fall months and return when the water is warm? Climate change? And whose fault is that? And the debate is on and in the interim, we’re up to our eyeballs, in sargasso!
Like I said, I think what we agree on is enough for the development of a plan at this point. I think it is safe to say this ocean phenomenon is here to stay. At least until the eggheads come up with a scientific consensus, whatever that is?? Here is the reality; the ocean is not going to get any cooler any time soon, and whatever Brazil is spewing, isn’t going to stop. Nor are the ocean currents going to change. So how do you deal with this problem then? Always best to find a way for someone to make money off of it, and it usually gets fixed. Plenty of money to be made in sargasso, that is for sure.
As we have watched the stuff roll in the last few years, we have all come up with interesting, and also profitable ways to use it. No shortage of good ideas on that. However, they all rely on what would be a large capital investment to harvest the sargasso from the ocean, transport it and then make it into any marketable product. Making such a large investment, not knowing if the industry you are investing in will continue, is not a smart investment. Would you invest in that? And as long as the eggheads argue and not conclude, investors will be skeptical. However, I think we’ve seen enough to know, this stuff will likely not stop, and most likely increase, as water temperatures continue to rise. The time has come for that investment.
Technology to harvest the sargasso before it reaches the shores, where it becomes a problem for marine life, as well as tourism areas, is the doable answer. When it hits our shores, the build up is killing marine life and dramatically altering the marine eco-system. Removal also removes needed sand, and our beaches are actually shrinking. And it just keeps coming. But if you have a constant supply of free, usable raw materials, you just need the equipment to collect and transport it, and you can have a profitable business from that material, no matter what it is.
Developing technology is expensive and slow, but picking up huge masses of sargasso from the ocean isn’t rocket science. You just need some big boats and ways to collect the sargasso with them. Basically, very simple really. Much like we have in our land agriculture industry, with equipment that allow farmers to work huge areas to produce their products each year. It just can’t be that difficult or expensive to pick up grass! Especially if the cost to figure it out is split between the regional governments and private industry.
Many countries are affected by the sargasso problem and those same countries have an interest, and one could argue and obligation, in helping pay for the development of this industry. Governments should be subsidizing this technology and the development of industries that use sargasso, and not nonsense like border walls or tourist trains. And in addition to solving the sargasso problem,the industry will also be creating real and lasting jobs for countries that need them.
If the products produced from sargasso are of a high enough value, the harvesting of it from the ocean will be easy and get done for sure. That is why you never see aluminum cans on the streets. They get picked up because it is easy to make money from them. If we can make bio-fuel for example from sargasso, or a cancer drug, or even better, find a way to get high from it, there won’t be a scrap of the stuff in the ocean. Even if all we make is fertilizer, which it is great for, the profits will be enough. And like I said, the best way to fix a problem is find a way to make money doing it. Do that, and it will always get done.