"After 13 Years, No End in Sight for Caribbean Sargassum Invasion"

"The growing invasion of sargassum in the Caribbean has impacted the quality of life of the islands' residents. But local governments have failed to coordinate an international response to problem."

"Schools evacuated due to toxic gas. Smelly tap water at home. Tourist operators and fishers struggling to stay in business. Job losses. Power outages affecting tens of thousands of people at a time. Dangerous health problems. Even lives lost.

Such crises were some of the consequences of sargassum in the islands of the Caribbean in 2023, and they have become common in the region since 2011 when massive blooms began inundating the shorelines in the spring and summer months.

On April 18, 2023 in Guadeloupe, the air-quality monitoring agency Gwad’Air advised vulnerable people to leave some areas because of toxic levels of gas produced by sargassum. Six weeks later, about 600 miles to the northwest, sargassum blocked an intake pipe at an electricity plant at Punta Catalina in the Dominican Republic. One of the facility’s units was forced to temporarily shut down, and a 20-year-old diver named Elías Poling later drowned while trying to fix the problem."

Freeman Rogers/The BVI Beacon, Olivia Losbar/RCI Guadeloupe, Maria Monsalve/El País, Krista Campbell/Television Jamaica, Suzanne Carlson/The Virgin Islands Daily News, and the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo report for Inside Climate News April 18, 2024.

Source: Inside Climate News, 05/08/2024