DoA to trial sargassum as fertiliser

| 15/07/2019 | 34 Comments
Cayman News Service
NiCE workers clear sargassum from South Sound dock and the beach

(CNS): The Department of Agriculture is set to test out some of the sargassum seaweed that temporary workers on the NiCE project are currently clearing from local beaches. Most of the seaweed that has been plaguing local beaches is being collected and taken to the George Town Landfill, where it is being weighed and deposited, but some of it also end up as compost.

After careful consideration it has been decided that the majority of the sargassum collected will be kept at the landfill for disposal,” said a NiCE official. “Some will also be sent on to the Department of Agriculture (DoA), where it will be tested and trialled for use as fertiliser.”

Experts say that Sargassum contains many useful nutrients and can make a very good fertiliser but it must be properly cleaned and dried. Although the seaweed can emit noxious gases (largely hydrogen sulfide) when it decomposes on the beach, once it is cleaned it can be incorporated into most composting systems.

Eighteen work teams are now out and about cleaning up beaches and clearing beach accesses as well as cutting roadside vegetation, installing road signs and repainting markings. Crews are removing litter from parks and cemeteries, and some workers are also being employed at the landfill processing recyclables, tire shredding, clearing vegetation and cleaning, stripping and painting equipment.

“With the first week of the NiCE Summer Project 2019 now completed, I am pleased to announce that the clean-up and enhancement initiatives have been successfully carried out so far,” said Minister for Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, Joey Hew, whose ministry is organising the short-term clean-up project. “I will be touring to visit several of the work teams later this week to talk to the NiCE operatives and to see first-hand some of the outstanding beautification remediation efforts they have accomplished.”

He added that it had been a huge effort to coordinate this year’s sargassum clearing with the usual island-wide roadside and general spruce up, as he thanked the Public Works Department, National Roads Authority and the Department of the Environmental Health, which are all working together on the project.

“This cross-agency approach is a model we want to perpetuate throughout government,” Hew added.

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Comments (34)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Will the fertilizer be available to the public?

  2. Anonymous says:

    No shit!

  3. Anonymous says:

    As the previous poster said, wash it down and compost it. Mix in the cuttings from the landscaping companies and we will be able to have super fertile soil.
    Once we get on top of it, we can deal with it incrementally. That stuff stinks like shit. Well if you’ve had fish tacos on Friday night, you’ll know what I mean.
    Sorry babe, need to open the door.
    Babe: I hate when you do that.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Caymanians used to use it to fertilize around coconut trees years ago. The salt did the coconut trees good.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    CNS

    Here’s some added information on this sargassum which includes warnings about hydrogen sulphide exposure. I wonder if some of the NICE workers might be susceptible and if they are being provided with proper respiratory protection.

    https://www.anses.fr/en/content/sargassum-seaweed-limit-exposure-residents-and-workers-hydrogen-sulphide

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    • Anonymous says:

      Good point. Unfortunately occupational safety doesn’t exist in the Cayman Islands.

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      • Anonymous says:

        It should also be tested for heavy metals that are attracted to some algae and seaweeds. Mercury, cadmium and arsenic are all know to be held in sargassum and you don’t want such dangerous chemicals in the water table or food.
        Read people, sargassum is potentially dangerous to humans and we are not being told the truth by government, that’s if they even know or care.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Unfortunately it won’t be tested. No lab, equipment and expertise. Just like unfiltered incinerator’ emission are not being tested. Or beach water.

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        • Anonymous says:

          How do you know the things that you mentioned aren’t already in your food? We don’t have anyone testing our food supply here on a regular basis. What do you know about the prevalence of arsenic and chromium in local soils here? My educated guess is that fertilizer made from sargassum has much lower levels than in some soils here. Believe me when I say we are being kept in the dark by our Authorities and just because they don’t test for nasties doesn’t mean they don’t exist at industrial levels.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Look at all the sand that was removed with that sargassum. We’re not going to have any beaches left if they keep removing it by raking and using machines. It needs to be stopped by nets or a silt boom before it ever gets to shore!

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    • StyroKills says:

      I’d be more worried about all the plastics that come with it. Anyone wondered how much micro plastics end up in our conch? Hint, if you’re eating conch or turtle or whelks you are probably ingesting unhealthy amounts of micro plastics. Another hint, you can’t really see this stuff with the naked eye, that’s why it’s called “micro plastics”

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Free the weed!

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Mother nature is taking revenge.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    ha…doa jokers…..
    so landfill is now being filled with dead iguana’s and rotting seaweed….
    the landfill is cayman solution to everything!…welcome to the 3rd world!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Landfill it is not. Open air dump it is.

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      • Anonymous says:

        very well said….the term landfill is the biggest myth around here and gives the impression cayman has some type of waste disposal system.
        the reality is what you said…..we just dump stuff in a big heap.
        mount trashmore is the perfect monument to the incompetence and ignorance of caymanian politicians.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    It’s excellent fertilizer. Been using it for a couple of years now.

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    • Anonymous says:

      is it salty? can you use it for most plants or just salt tolerant ones?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Ask ankle google. Plenty of videos “how to”

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      • #sustainableCayman says:

        Just hose wash to get rid of the surface salt or better, soak it for a few days in a bin. Then mix it in with topsoil as a mulch.
        Works great on bananas, plantains and tomatoes.

        You can even dry it after it’s been rinsed/soaked and grind it up in an old blender and then make compost tea out of it. This stuff is choc full of minerals and slow release nitrogen.

        The swivel chair jockeys at Dept. of Agriculture need to get their act together and work with NICE and Nat’l Trust to build satellite community composting centres. We have an endless supply of sargassum and plenty of landscaping firms taking waste to the GT dump together which benefits no one. Institute a household food waste collection by landscaping companies, when the do your garden they also collect any food waste.

        Joe landscaper then takes this food waste back to the compost centre with your landscaping waste, simple right? I’m sure that people would be willing to pay a fair price for real local organic compost! Get the restaurants involved in this. The possibilities are endless and might even help to develop a sustainable year round food supply here.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I’ve said for a long time that all of the landscaping companies should be required to compost. It’s ridiculous that they’re allowed to take green matter to the dump.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Read 11:19 and 1:29 comments before turning it into compost.

            • Anonymous says:

              You can always have it tested yourself if you are so concerned, plenty of labs in FL that do this kind of thing. I would not trust a lab doing it here as they are definitely not setup for rigorous trace metal analysis. I would hope that DOA would do that but the public might not be privy to the results. Best dig your chemistry set out if you have one.

    • Anonymous says:

      Does it require being rinsed of the saline?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Affirmative

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      • Anonymous says:

        No. In reality, the salt and minerals help to break it down and are really nutritious to soil and plants. Spread, dry, break down and mix into soil is all you need to do.

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      • Anonymous says:

        re Rinsing – it depends on the volume, and your plants. Most (tough) plants, e.g., trees, a bucket of seaweed, some rains (since it washes in mostly in the rainy season) and you’re OK. If you were to ‘bury’ your land in the seaweed year after year then yes you might run into salt problems. (Of course if you were trying to rinse that much seaweed you’d also have the same problem of what to do with the water once you’ve rinsed the salt from the weed into the water.)

        Sorry if the above isn’t helpful but I haven’t seen anyone with measurements relating to how much salt the seaweed brings in compared to how much certain types of plants can process over time. Everyone is just working from trial and error.

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