Editorial Staff
9 months ago

Editorial Staff
9 months ago

Sargassum experiment successful but the cost of operation in limbo

Sargassum Sea Weed in English Habour. 

Plans to use Antigua and Barbuda’s coast as a point to sink the troubling Sargassum seaweed to the bottom of the ocean may remain in its testing stage, as the cost to undertake the project may be too much for the government. At least for now.

“I believe that there is a question relating to the price and the cost of collecting the sargassum, turning it into something like a brick, and sinking it at the bottom of the sea. And that is a very expensive undertaking,” Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister Lionel Max Hurst said

The company, Seaweed Generation, out of Glasgow, Scotland, believes it can “mitigate and remove carbon emissions using seaweed” – through the use of technology, automation, robotics, and data”

Record amounts of sargassum are expected in several Eastern Caribbean islands including Antigua and Barbuda in the coming weeks.

Hurst said the experiments have proven to be successful but the government would need to decide whether the country can afford the undertaking

“ I believe they’ve done some experimentation, but the question is, can we afford that approach? And the answer is we don’t know yet because the worst of the Sargassum has not yet come to Antigua,” he said recently

The experimentation has been conducted and deemed possible but Hurst said as far as contractual obligation by the government, the issue of cost remains questionable

“In other words, they’re doing the experiments. And the question again is cost. Can we afford it” Hurst added.

The Sargassum has been an issue for several years now, affecting mostly the eastern and northern coastlines.  

However, this year there was a shift, and beaches on the western and southern sides of the island were affected.

Meanwhile, Seaweed Generation and several environmentalists believe that sinking the seaweed to the bottom of the ocean will lock carbon away for hundreds of years.  

They claim that it will “also prevent the environmental disasters caused by the seaweed, which wreaks havoc on the coastline and affects the operations of hotels and other beachfront properties”

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