Becoming the trendsetter

Becoming the trendsetter

Today’s story about a study into Sargassum Weed on the island is interesting. Last month two persons from the Climate Clean-up Foundation in the Netherlands, with the help of St. Maarten Nature Foundation and others, harvested 1,500 kilograms off the coast, storing it on dry land for sampling and testing.

Their goals include preventing the invasive seaweed from washing ashore especially during the summer and clogging up bays while killing important ecosystems, including mangroves and seagrass. This results in a rotting mass that produces foul-smelling and potentially harmful sulphide.

However, seaweed also extracts CO2 (carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere, which is needed to combat global warning. The initiators therefore hope to “sequester” 1,500 gigatons by producing so-called “carbon sinks” for deep-sea sinking, supposedly mimicking the seaweed’s natural life cycle in the Sargasso Sea. Possible other uses mentioned are biogas, paper and compost.

If this research leads to feasible solutions it could spark the start of a whole new Sargassum Weed industry. This may include processing seaweed also from other nearby countries facing the same problem.

Knowledge and experience obtained from a local pilot project might even be exported. The potential economic and other benefits of such should not be underestimated.

As an example, after setting up windmill parks to generate wind energy in Curaçao, the Dutch company involved was able to expand its projects throughout the region and create jobs. In these kinds of new economic activities, becoming