Miami-Dade County begins removing smelly seaweed from beaches

Commissioners seek long-term solution to permitting to keep beaches clean

By Sanela Sabovic - Reporter

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - It's unsightly, it smells and it's taking over South Florida's shorelines.

"It dissuades people from being on the beach, co-existing with this mess," Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman said Friday.

Heyman is talking about the thick, bushy seaweed, also known as sargassum, that has become a nuisance, creating a big problem for beachgoers and marine life in South Florida.

It's typical for seaweed to wash up during the summer months, but these large masses are abnormal, so something is being done about it.

Cleanup crews are in the process of removing the seaweed from the three most-affected areas along Miami-Dade County beaches, while making sure they aren't disturbing any nesting sea turtles.

But commissioners said it hasn't been easy obtaining permits to keep the beaches clean.

"We believe we deserve a season-long permit," Commissioner Eileen Higgins said. "We should not have to request this week after week after week."

Heyman said county health officials are also "constantly monitoring" for any potential risks associated with it.

"You will see it, you will smell it, but it is not in a position to create harm for the people while we try and get it cleaned up," Heyman said.

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