Caribbean swamped by seaweed that smells like rotten eggs | Environment


“It was like something out of a science fiction movie,” says Barbara Hall from the office of the beachside hotel she runs in Placencia, southern Belize.

“I woke up at 6am, looked out my window and realised we had a big problem. It was absolutely overwhelming.”

The sight that greeted her that morning was a gargantuan tide of sargassum – a type of ocean seaweed that had swept in overnight. At sea, sargassum is an essential habitat for some marine life, but when it reaches land it rots, sucking up oxygen from the water and emitting hydrogen sulphide gas, which smells like rotten eggs.



The influx of sargassum seaweed has been accumulating along the coast of Ambergris Caye. Photograph: Courtesy of The San Pedro Sun Newspaper

It has washed up in the Caribbean in unusually large…

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