Seaweed nightmare - Businesses suffering because of unsightly brown algae

September 03, 2018
Patrick Hill clears a section of the Sugarman's Beach in Hellshire, Portmore, of sargassum in August.

Some beaches in St Catherine are yet again faced with the problem of sargassum, a seaweed, washing up on their shores.

This is not good news for businesses in the area, according to Roger Davis, CEO of Boardwalk Beach in Hellshire.

He said that business has declined because the seaweed continues to wash up on the shore.

"This has impacted about 90 per cent of our income, and we have not had any government assistance," he said.

After many attempts to get help, Davis said there are times when he has to take matters in his own hands and try to clean the beach so that business can continue. But that seems to be in vain, as the seaweed is not collected by any government agency, and so over a period of time the seaweed accumulates. He also said that he has to spend to clean the area and the substance keeps coming back, so he is losing a lot of revenue.

"Persons from the municipal council have visited. We get persons from UDC (Urban Development Corporation), from NEPA (National Environment and Planning Agency), but I don't know if it is inertia, but it certainly has been ineffectual. We have to cut business times from every day to only three days a week and that affects staff and their children," he said.




Their neighbours at Fort Clarence Beach are also feeling the pressure. They told THE STAR that this was the worst summer they have ever experienced.

"Business slow bad. The beach is the main attraction, so when people come and see the water, they turn back," a representative said.

One beachgoer, Tenese Grey, said that she is very saddened by the sight of the seaweed. She told THE STAR that Sundays are normally her relaxation days, and she would visit Hellshire on a regular basis to just ease her mind.

"I work really hard. I don't live far, so for me, coming here brings me peace of mind. I usually come with my family, but it doesn't make sense when the beach is like this," she said.

Another person said that he said that he was looking forward to a weekend on the beach close to home, but he is now forced to reconsider this option because of the unsightly seaweed.

"My mom was coming this week and I just wanted her to come and relax because she don't like long driving, so fi go Ochi or Portland, that is too far out for her. Right here is just close, but now mi haffi go talk to her because mi nah mek she go inna dat," he said.

Efforts were made to get a comment from the UDC. However, up to press time, there was no response.

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