Authorities of the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development (MEPyD), met with executives of the Puntacana Group Foundation and representatives of the Technological Institute of Santo Domingo (INTEC), with whom they discussed the importance of articulating efforts to sustainably address the challenge of sargassum affecting the coasts of the country.
The meeting was held on the eve of the celebration of International Beach Cleanup Day this Saturday, September 17, which finds the Caribbean coasts, including those of the Dominican Republic, full of sargassum.
The meeting with the Minister of Economy, Pável Isa Contreras, was attended by the vice president of the Puntacana Group Foundation, Jake Kheel; the financial director of the Punta Cana Group, Francesca Rainieri; the coordinator of Beach and Marine, Daniel García; the rector of INTEC, Julio Sánchez Maríñez; the director of Continuing Education of that university, Carlos Sánchez, and the coordinator of the PhD in Environmental Sciences of INTEC, Ulises Jáuregui-Haza.
After the meeting, Isa Contreras took a tour, in which he observed the system of barriers and collection in the water, the collection of sargassum and the marine innovation center.
The economist and researcher highlighted the importance of facing the challenge of sargassum for sustainability. He also stated that this is a phenomenon that is affecting all the coasts of the Caribbean and other places in the world.
He expressed that it is not a problem that has been created by the affected Caribbean economies, but by the way of production in other countries. “We are paying costs for those productive processes that damage the environment”, said the official.
The university professor said that the Ministry of Economy is in the process of articulating efforts from the environmental, economic, community and private sector perspective to face the problem and contain the effect of sargasso.
“Hopefully we don’t have to clean the coasts, if not that we don’t dirty them, that we take care of the coasts continuously, so that we don’t have to carry out massive operations to solve a problem that we ourselves are creating,” advised the Minister, while giving a message on the occasion of the International Beach Cleanup Day.
The Minister encouraged us to “confront our behavior, our way of consuming and producing, so that we have cleaner coasts, so that we can enjoy them, so that the world can enjoy them, and so that we can maintain tourism as a dignified means of life”.
An environmental model
On the subject, the vice president of the Puntacana Group Foundation, Jake Kheel, explained that the Puntacana Group’s model has been to care for and preserve coastal resources to contribute to the well-being of Dominican tourism.
“We celebrate International Coastal Cleanup Day every day, protecting reefs, restoring reefs and looking for ways to protect coastal resources every day,” said Kheel.
Role of academia
INTEC rector, Julio Sánchez Maríñez, highlighted the role of the entity in researching and seeking solutions to the sargasso phenomenon affecting the country’s coasts.
He emphasized the significance of the meeting on the eve of International Beach Cleanup Day and this is a symbol “of what we must do with our beaches, our waters, our forests and our environment”.
Similarly, Ulises Jáuregui-Haza, coordinator of INTEC’s PhD in Environmental Sciences and coordinator of the academy’s Inter-institutional Sargasso Research Group, said that the Dominican coasts have been receiving massive influxes of these algae for 11 years.
He informed that the country has a project in the tourism sector, in collaboration with private companies, the State and other academies, in search of solutions through the installation of barriers and the collection of sargassum, to reduce the damages to the beaches as a result of the massive influx of these algae.
He said it is very important to join efforts so that the few existing resources are better used.
He also emphasized the importance of combining the knowledge of each of the sectors in a common objective, which is to reduce the impact and have short and long term results in terms of the possibility of using sargassum in a biomass with a high value and that can have in the immediate future economic benefits for the country.
“One, we have to face an enemy that is of natural order, but the second is the value of man to take care and protect what we have and to be aware of the proper use of all the resources we have,” said Jauregui-Haza, referring to the challenges facing the country on International Beach Cleanup Day.