Plagued Waves

Published by Ocean Generation \ June 10, 2019 9:40 am

The pearly white was no more; tainted, hidden beneath the ghastly russet. The waves of blue no longer beautiful…… downcast by the insufferable plague……

Beaches in the Caribbean have a great site to behold by the people who live on these islands, and by the people who love to visit them. The sun shining its rays down to the glimmering sea, crashing its waves onto the shorelines of the clear, beautiful sand; there’s no wonder why people love to sit down and enjoy their time down in the West Indies. But a recent dilemma has been starting to plague these beautiful beaches, our enjoyment of them, and the way of life for the flora and fauna around them. Massive amount of Sargassum seaweed have been appearing onto our shores, causing a drastic change to the environment and how we enjoy our time by the beaches.

Sargassum Seaweed; a subspecies of brown macroalgae hosted by the Atlantic’s Sargasso Sea located in the centre of the North Atlantic Gyre. Sargassum is deposited through constructive waves, transported miles from its origin to the shores of the Caribbean. Over the past few years, a lot of this algae has been creating huge island like formations in the waters that creates an unsightly appearance. Since it inhabits a region of the world with a climate that encourages its growth. It has had the ability to divide and conquer at an unprecedented rate onto multiple islands such as Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, Barbados and more Eastern Caribbean countries.

While it may look unsightly, Sargassum has a couple of good uses to us. It’s consumable, it can be harvested to fry, boil and even be used for medicine! It helps with feeding animals and can be a home used to nurture many different fish and sea creatures that live in it. It even serves a purpose in biofuel. The purposes of the seaweed came to a close however when it begins to decay, and at that point, no one wins. On top of having an unpleasant odor when it begins to decay, it creates harmful bacteria that can cause serious skin irritation and damage and can pose a massive health risk towards people and marine life alike, affecting their way of life and possibly killing them. It’s ability to collect and accumulate floating garbage can make its appearance worse. These bad qualities can also greatly affect the tourism sector which many Caribbean islands are dependent on as their main source of income. The once comely shores were sheathed in the overwhelming algae. Another similar case is the harmful algal blooms in the Gulf of Mexico. Its rapid increase choked the marine ecosystem. On the contrary, the algal bloom fiasco was simply solved with a dash of Phosphorus in the water system. The Sargassum, however, cannot be dissolved by a simple chemical element……

Natural Disaster Services (NADIS) Software was conceptualized at the first annual Wadadli Hackathon (Dadlihack) sponsored by Ocean Generation along with the UNOPS in 2018. NADIS catered to the awareness and preparedness of natural disasters in the Caribbean. Although the idea was feasible, they didn’t win. NADIS then received its comeback in the second Dadlihack, achieving their first win. Due to the loss they received last year, the NADIS team expanded their horizon towards a common problem affecting the Caribbean as a whole. With extensive research and honest testimonials, NADIS spawned an Ahead-Of-Time (AOT) software. With such a rising issue, initiative must be taken to avoid the reactive approach that is constantly used after trouble strikes, this is the mindset the team behind NADIS guide themselves byl. A proactive approach describes the “creating or controlling of a situation rather than just responding to it after it has happened.” With the use of A-O-T, the chances of Sargassum hitting the sandy shores are calculated and predicted. Enterprise companies such as: beachfront hotels, resorts, spas and restaurants are made aware of the likelihood of Sargassum being transported to their coasts. They can then react accordingly to the information given; controlling the situation by generating solutions beforehand. Thus, saving their firms from great expenses for cleaning the premises free of Sargassum. NADIS’ software also scans and surveys the level of Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)—a harmful and corrosive emission of gas released from Sargassum—which can endanger the human body, animals and infrastructure. Carbon dioxide levels are also detected below sea level to aid in the prediction of upcoming drought. These emissions are detected using sensors to obtain accurate predictions.

With this resolve, the likelihood and correlation of seaweed deposits can be predicted. The vast expenditure for cleaning beaches can be reduced by this proactive approach. Thus, terminating the reactive approach and ensuring clean waters…….

…….for all.

 

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