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POP Movement and FXB USA Issue Joint Statement about Sargassum and Climate Change

The news headline of a 5,000-mile belt of kelp stretching toward the Caribbean Sea, southern Florida, and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula immediately evokes the economic impact of less-than visually pleasing shoreline and the rotten smell for spring breakers. However, this macroalgae, known as sargassum, which originates in the North Atlantic Ocean in the so-called Sargasso Sea, impacts more than just our pockets; we cannot ignore its impact on people's health. The displacement of sargassum towards the southern region of the Atlantic Ocean is influenced by climate change, causing an increase in its prevalence. The latest IPCC report released this week reminded us that our timeline for action is shorter than we expected.

The vanguard study “Environmental Diagnosis of the Mexican Caribbean Associated with the presence of massive arrival of Sargasso: water, sediment, and air phases. Impact on Human Health” led by National Polytechnic Institute and in collaboration the POP (Protect Our Planet) Movement and FXB USA.

The study focused on how the extensive presence of sargassum harms people’s health in addition to negatively impacting tourism. Not all people are impacted equally. The frontline workers-people employed by the tourism industry with little access to proper education and healthcare-bear the largest burden of health impacts. Our study documented health impacts such as respiratory problems, skin rashes, mental health, mood swings, tiredness and physical deterioration, particularly in workers dedicated to the removal of sargassum from the beaches. The study also focused on the knowledge about sargasso and identification of health symptoms commonly manifested by members of different sectors of coastal communities. This study is being published by Springer Publishing.

The POP Movement is an organization that aims to empower the youth to have an active participation in addressing issues of climate change.

FXB USA is a nonprofit organization that focuses on climate change through its FXB Climate Advocates program. It is part of FXB, a non-governmental organization that has been fighting extreme poverty for over 30 years.

The FXB Climate Advocates program informs, empowers, and mobilizes youth to learn about how climate change impacts their communities and implement climate solutions.

The POP Movement and FXB USA urge communities most impacted by sargassum to invest in climate solutions as well as training and awareness to diminish health impacts of sargassum. We are committed to supporting youth climate advocates around the world to learn about climate change and take action in the national and global arenas.

Victoria Solano-FXB Climate Advocate- grew up in Mexico and currently resides in Long Island, New York has been spreading awareness to her community and working to identify sustainable solutions to sargassum removal. Learn more here.

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