Seaweed has appeared again in the Lumley beach and it is seriously overtaking the beach with its smelly odour, Awoko reports.
Speaking with some people at the beach on Wednesday they say for the past two weeks they have been cleaning the beach, but as they continue to clean more seaweed is coming regularly and that makes the job harder for them.
According to an official at the National Tourist Board, Lucinda Kargbo, it was disturbing for them this year when the seaweed appeared again. She said they have not relented as they have been working to get rid the beach off the smelly seaweed in the Lumley beach. “It is not only at the Lumley beach but other beaches around the country.”
The beautiful white sand beaches, long admired the world over, used to host around 30,000 tourists a year until the civil war in 1991. Those numbers dropped considerably after the outbreak of the conflict – but the beaches remained the same. That was until the influx of seaweed two weeks ago, when a putrid beige carpet began covering the sands.
A daily clearing exercise, using dredgers has been under way since, but the seaweed is still collecting in large volumes.
The stench is keeping tourists away and the deposits are affecting the fishing industry.
“We cannot even cast our nets as all we fish out are seaweeds with tormenting smells,” a fisherman averred.
This is not the first time Sierra Leone has been inundated by the smelly seaweed. Every start of the rainy season for the past three to four years, there has been an influx.
According to reports, Sierra Leone is not the only country to have been hit by large volumes of seaweed. Since 2011, many beaches in Mexico, the Caribbean and along the south coast of West Africa have been affected by it.
The seaweed is sargassum, a brown algae which forms large floating mass. It usually blooms in the Sargasso Sea, a 3m.sq.km body of water in the North Atlantic, and is a critical habitat for many marine species such as mahi-mahi, tuna, eels and sea turtles.
Some people in the beach on Wednesday averred that if Sierra Leoneans can turn it into food then it will become very economical as it has lots of nutrients for the body.