During a trip to the French overseas territory Guadeloupe on Friday, President Emmanuel Macron pledged to keep a promise to clean up toxic Sargassum seaweed within 48 hours of it running aground.Like the rest of the Caribbean, the Antilles suffered in 2011 from an unprecedented invasion of Sargassum seaweed (sometimes known as gulf weed). The problem recurred in 2015 and then on an even larger scale in 2018. The brown seaweed poses potential health risks. The mounds of Sargassum that accumulate on the beach can reach as high as two feet and release hydrogen sulfide and ammonia as it rots.
The colourless, toxic and highly flammable gas smells like rotten eggs. Inhaling it in small doses can trigger eye and respiratory irritation.Former French minister for the environment Nicolas Hulot presented a €10 million plan in June to help combat the problem. His subsequent resignation set off a flurry of panic in the islands over whether the government would renege on its pledge to help with the problem. [ . . . ]
CONTINUE at FRANCE 24: Mystery seaweed threatens French Caribbean – France 24