Economy September 22, 2020 | 3:04 pm

Dominican Republic can eliminate sargassum and have an advantage over other competitors

Sargassum Algae / for environmental reporting Hoy / External Source 1/7/15

The Dominican Republic can apply solutions to reduce the impact of sargassum in the tourism sector, which would create an advantage over other Caribbean countries in attracting tourists after the opening with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The available solutions allow the harvested sargassum to be used as a raw material for other industries to produce organic fertilizers and biomass for energy. And it would also create jobs by hiring local labor to operate the machinery.

“Now, it is possible to take advantage of these tourism conditions to make the Dominican Republic the first Caribbean country free or with less impact from sargassum. This would allow it to have a differentiating element from its competitors such as Mexico and Jamaica, which also face problems with sargassum,” Explained the mechanical engineer Andrés Bisonó.

He understands that aggressive solutions must be incorporated to prevent sargassum from reaching Dominican beaches within the plan to relaunch the tourism sector, creating a bad experience for tourists.

He highlighted that together with researchers from the United States, Alexander Slocum, and Luke Gray have developed two types of machinery to efficiently solve the sargassum problem and at the lowest possible cost. The machines were created after research that began in June 2018 at the renowned US university, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

He expressed that they have investigated sargassum and how to treat it to avoid impacts to the environment and the marine ecosystem.

This has led to the creation of two machines, one to collect sargassum on the high seas and sink it into the depths of the sea (it stays there and completes its life cycle), and another to collect sargassum before reaching the shores.

Bisonó explained that both systems are innovative and are obtaining international patents in the United States.

Last year, its research and development led them to use a Dominican Navy ship to adapt it with the machinery for the sargassum collection system on the high seas and see its functionality. Now they are dedicated to offering these services privately. This project had the support of public and private institutions.

He added that the machinery to collect sargassum on the coasts allows creating jobs since artisanal boats are used. The idea is to use fishing crews, making it a way to generate employment and solve a problem.

Bisonó stressed that he wants to draw attention to sargassum at the moment, which seeks to relaunch the tourism sector. “It cannot necessarily be through us, but rather by looking for the appropriate equipment that provides an efficient service or solution at the lowest possible cost,” he said.

He expressed that aggressive solutions must be sought to deal with sargassum and that they would also create jobs.

 

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