Smelly Seaweed Threatens Mexican Coast Tourism
Vacationers visit Mexican coastal towns like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum in search of sun, white sands and clear blue waters. But, recently, they have also experienced something unexpected: sargassum.
Sargassum is a kind of sea plant called "seaweed." It smells bad and is generally unattractive.
Now, this seaweed is invading an area of Mexico's Caribbean coast called the Riviera Maya. It is amassing along beaches and turning the beautiful waters brown. Experts warn that this may be the new normal.
Half of Mexico's tourism profits come from the Riviera Maya. Very little sargassum reached it before 2014. But experts say a possible combination of climate change, pollution from fertilizers and changes in ocean currents has caused the problem to worsen.
The government of Quintana Roo, a state in Mexico, says the sargassum invasion is one of the biggest issues "that climate change has caused for the world." It said solving the problem will require a joint effort by many countries.
When comparing March 2018 to March 2019, tourist arrivals at the Cancun airport were up 3.3 percent. But, people fear the sargassum issue will harm the tourism trade.
When sargassum dies, it leaves a terrible egg-like smell. And, as the dead seaweed drops to the ocean floor, it can kill the coral the Caribbean is known for.
Too much of the seaweed on beaches can also harm the reproductive process of sea turtles.
Jef A. Gardner travels often to Playa del Carmen from Knoxville, Tennessee. He told the Associated Press he thinks the sargassum problem is a disaster that will badly hurt tourism and the local economy.
This year, the sargassum along parts of Mexico's coast appears worse than it was last year. And the increased growth is not just a problem for Mexico. It affects almost all countries along the Caribbean Sea on some level.
The U.S. Gulf coast also was hit with an overload of sargassum in 2014. The seaweed invaded beaches of Florida's eastern coast in 2018. The east coast of Florida is getting hit again this year.
The seaweed is coming from Atlantic Ocean waters past the mouth of the Amazon River.
Chuanmin Hu is a professor of oceanography at South Florida University's College of Marine Science. He says the sargassum seems to be the result of increased nutrient flows from rivers and ocean water upwelling.
Upwelling is the process of cold seawater filled with nutrients rising up from the deep. Ocean currents then carry the seaweed to the Caribbean Sea, where it can grow further.
Hu says this process is unlikely to soon stop. He says more research is needed before definitely linking it all to human activity. But, he pointed to evidence of "increased use of fertilizer and increased deforestation" as possible causes, at least for the Amazon.
For now, business owners of Mexico's beach resorts are trying to find solutions.
"What you have to do is stop it before it even reaches the beaches," said Adrian Lopez, the president of Quintana Roo's employers' federation.
But, as Lopez notes, trying to collect sargassum on water could harm some sea life, such as coral that live in shallow waters close to the coast.
Removal of sargassum after it hits beaches is also risky. It could harm the sea turtle eggs or young, for example. And masses of it usually return by the end of each day anyway, Lopez explains.
Other ideas for solutions are appearing, such as using it as an additive to make bricks. But its usefulness as a fertilizer or animal feed is limited by the chemicals it contains, like salt, iodine and arsenic.
In Quintana Roo, tourism industry workers make up almost all of the local population. Some are concerned about a federal government plan to establish a train line between coastal areas and Mayan ruins. They say the government is ignoring the seaweed problem.
"With Sargassum, there is No Mayan Train," reads a sign launched by local businesses.
I'm Susan Shand.
And I'm Alice Bryant.
1.make up 组成；弥补
I think it's very unkind of you to make up stories about him.
2.federal government 联邦政府
The federal government hiked the tax on hard liquor.
3.by the end of 在...结束前
By the end of the week you will have a clear idea of what your eating habits are
4.be known for 因...闻名
The French are known for their love of their language.
5.It affects almost all countries along the Caribbean Sea on some level.
on some level 在某种程度上
On some level, women don't mind the idea of destroying a man.
I think on some level she wanted to get caught.
6.Vacationers visit Mexican coastal towns like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum in search of sun, white sands and clear blue waters.
in search of 寻找
He has had to travel the country in search of work.
They are a lost generation in search of an identity.
游客通常会前往墨西哥沿海城镇，如坎昆，卡门和图卢姆，寻找阳光，白色沙滩和清澈的蓝色水域 。但是最近他们也经历了意想不到的事物：马尾藻 。
马尾藻是一种名为“海藻”的海洋植物 。它的气味难闻，而且不吸引人 。
如今，这种海藻入侵了墨西哥加勒比海岸的里维埃拉玛雅地区 。它正沿着海滩泛滥，把美丽的海水变成褐色 。专家警告说，这种现象或将成为新常态 。
墨西哥一半的旅游收益来自里维埃拉玛雅 。在2014年之前，这里的马尾藻极少 。但专家表示，气候变化、化肥污染和洋流变化可能是导致问题恶化的原因 。
墨西哥昆塔纳罗奥州政府表示，马尾藻入侵是“气候变化给这个世界带来的”最严重问题之一 。它指出，解决这一问题需要多国共同努力 。
墨西哥卡门海滩的工作人员正在清理马尾藻 。一旦马尾藻被冲上岸，铲走或者推走马尾藻将成为一项艰巨的任务，因为数小时后马尾藻又被冲上岸 。
与2018年3月相比，2019年3月坎昆机场的旅客人数增长了3.3% 。但是人们担心马尾藻问题会损害旅游业 。
马尾藻死后会散发臭鸡蛋般的难闻味道 。而且，腐烂的马尾藻沉入海底后会杀死加勒比海著名的珊瑚 。
杰夫（Jef A. Gardner）经常从田纳西州诺克斯维尔到卡门游玩 。他告诉美联社，他认为马尾藻问题是一场灾难，将严重损害旅游业和当地经济 。
今年，墨西哥海岸部分地区的马尾藻问题似乎比去年更严重 。马尾藻泛滥不仅会影响墨西哥 。在某种程度上，它几乎影响着加勒比海沿岸所有国家 。
2014年，美国墨西哥湾沿岸也受到了马尾藻泛滥的影响 。2018年，马尾藻入侵了佛罗里达州东海岸的海滩 。今年，佛罗里达州东海岸再次遭到海藻入侵 。
胡传民（音译）是南佛罗里达大学海洋科学学院的海洋学教授 。他表示，马尾藻似乎是河流和海水上升流的营养物质增加的结果 。
上升流是指充满营养物质的冷海水从深海上升的过程 。然后海流将马尾藻带至加勒比海，在那里可以进一步繁殖 。
胡表示，这一进程不太可能很快停止 。他说，在确定这一现象与人类活动有关之前，还需要进行更多的研究 。但是他指出，“化肥的使用和滥伐森林的增加”至少可能是亚马逊河问题的起因 。
清理侵入海滩的马尾藻也存在危险 。例如，这可能会伤害到海龟蛋或幼小海龟 。反正，夜间一簇簇海藻又重新被冲刷上岸，洛佩兹解释道 。
其他的解决方案也相继出现，如把它用作制砖的添加物 。但它作为肥料或动物饲料的用途受到其所含化学物质的限制，如盐、碘和砷 。
在昆塔纳罗奥州，旅游业员工比例几乎占据了当地的全部人口 。 一些人对联邦政府计划在沿海地区和玛雅遗址之间建立一条铁路线表示担忧 。他们称，政府忽视了马尾藻问题 。