Plans to use Antigua and Barbuda’s coast as a point to sink the troubling Sargassum seaweed to the bottom of the ocean are now in the testing stage.
According to reports, this country has been selected as a “key deployment area” for a company that is seeking to commence this initiative. The action, it claims, will bring relief to residents who are impacted by the annual migration of the seaweed.
The company, Seaweed Generation, out of Glasgow, Scotland, believes it can “mitigate and remove carbon emissions using seaweed” – through the use of technology, automation, robotics and data.
Several Eastern Caribbean islands experienced record amounts of sargassum during the first quarter of 2023. However, at this time – when the seas are relatively free, but with more seaweed forecast for the upcoming months – the company is testing an important piece of equipment.
Paul Gray is the company’s head of marine engineering. He is hoping this technology can positively impact the challenges created by the annual drift of the foul-smelling sea plant.
Reports say that equipment testing began earlier this week and is set to conclude next week.
Following this phase, company officials are expected to return to Scotland. There, they will continue to develop the vehicle they intend to use for removal of the seaweed from the water’s surface and sinking it.
The Sargassum has been an issue for several years now, affecting mostly the eastern and northern coastlines. However, this year there was a shift, and beaches on the western and southern sides of the island were affected.
Gray says the rapid increase is the result of a number of factors.
Meanwhile, Seaweed Generation believes that sinking the seaweed to the bottom of the ocean will lock carbon away for hundreds of years. It will also prevent the environmental disasters caused by the seaweed, which wreaks havoc on the coastline and affects the operations of hotels and other beachfront properties.