Thursday, August 13, 2015

Tobago begins Sargassum Clean-Up

Workmen were in action yesterday as efforts continue to relieve the Tobago communities most affected by waves of Sargassum seaweed.

This comes on the heels of the recent announcement by the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) that $3 million has been budgeted to tackle the massive influx of Sargassum on Tobago’s Atlantic coastline. 

Speyside is one of the villages where workers yesterday used backhoes and garden tools to clear the rotting sargassum, placing it into trucks to be disposed of. 

Manager of Blue Waters Inn, Curtis Lee, thanked the THA for its quick response to the matter, adding efforts made a tremendous difference at his resort, although he admitted that business has been as usual. 

“The guy came, who the THA sent for us, operated the backhoe for about three days and he was able to clear a substantial amount and since he left last Saturday, we have been doing the minor clean-up of the little Sargassum that keeps coming up but the beach looks lovely. 

The guests of the hotel have been complimenting the staff and the guy with the backhoe and the guests now have a beach to relax on and enjoy.” Lee is hopeful that in the future should they be another “outbreak” it would be dealt with in the same manner. 

“As you all know, it is unpredictable and I would hope that in the future should we get another Sargassum outbreak, as I would call it, that the response would be the same as what we had,” he said. 

Residents told Newsday that little or no information is being communicated about possible health risks from Sargassum. 

“I notice when I am driving my vehicle from here going out of the village and I get to Studley Park, it is like I want to sleep. 

We are not seeing any doctor or health worker to explain to us the effects of this crisis. We need more advice because we have children and pregnant women. It is really affecting all of us, we cannot sleep at nights, many of us get an unwell feeling, vomiting and other things,” one man said. 

THA Secretary of Tourism and Transportation Tracey Davidson- Celestine, in a press release, said her Division continues to work alongside clean-up teams to ensure the impact on residents and visitors is minimised. 

She is also assuring visitors that Tobago’s tourism is not diminished by the naturally occurring Sargassum seaweed. 

The Secretary said the island continues to be an inviting place for those seeking to get away from the ordinary.  

Excerpt taken from T&T Newsdays

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