This drone footage shows the 342-mile-long gulfweed invasion that is reportedly turning the once pristine blue waters in tourist hotspot Cancun a murky brown colour.
According to local media, a 550-kilometre-long (342-mile-long) mass of brown macroalgae has arrived along the Mexican coast, affecting beaches in the south-eastern Mexican state of Quintana Roo.
The gulfweed has turned the coastal waters in the idyllic Caribbean tourist hotspot a murky-brown colour and visitors to the popular beaches of Punta Molas, Mexcalitos and Cozumel Este have been turned off swimming in the sea.
According to reports, the gulfweed has affected many areas in the Caribbean and is arriving on the Mexican coast in intermittent waves with the wind and sea currents distributing it along a wide stretch of coastline.
Reports said that the affected area covers over 550 kilometres (342 miles) and could grow up to 1,000 kilometres (621 miles).
The gulfweed is approaching Mexico from the Caribbean island nation of Jamaica and is growing due to high temperatures, according to local media.
Local expert Esteban Amaro said: “We are seeing temperatures between two and three degrees Celsius above the average.”
Brigitta Ine vanTussenbroek Ribbink, researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, said that the microalgae mass is releasing sulphuric acid into the water which can cause possible skin and allergy reactions.
Hotel manager Juan Canul told local media: “It is a serious problem and we are talking about a loss of visitors. The image of Tulum is one of crystal blue waters and people are arriving and seeing this catastrophe. They want to find alternative locations.”
The Ananova page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.