Sargassum: stabilization of hydrogen sulphide levels at Cul-de-Sac

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New measurements were taken last Friday, the results confirm a balance with the rates recorded on Wednesday August 3, 2022.

After the implementation of an intensive collection of sargassum stranded in the bay of Cul-de-Sac on emergency order issued by the president of the Collectivity, Louis Mussington, several measurements of the rate of Hydrogen Sulfide were taken by the services concerned. In the report published by the Regional Health Agency (ARS) dated Monday, August 1, the rates were alarming: 4,8 ppm near grounding areas and 3,2 ppm in homes. 

The professionals in charge of the measurements suspected that this increase in the high levels was influenced by the strong gas emissions linked to the fact of stirring up the algae in the collection process. On Wednesday August 3, which also marked the reopening of Pinel Island to the public, the new Hydrogen Sulfide levels confirmed the hypothesis with a  notable decrease for 2,2 ppm near grounding areas and 1,4 ppm at the level of dwellings. On Friday August 5, the latest measurements indicated a balance: 2,4 ppm at 5 meters from the strandings and 1,1 ppm at the level of the dwellings. Further rate measurements will be taken this week. For forecasts, the surveillance bulletin published by Météo France on Monday August 8 maintains the average risk of grounding for the next three days for Saint Martin and Saint-Barthélemy. Many sargassum rafts are detected to the east and immediate south-east of the two French islands and transit mainly to the west. More or less occasional groundings are in progress and will continue for the next two weeks. 

The commitment of the Community and state continues

The Collectivity remains attentive to the situation of sargassum groundings and its evolution. As proof, after the visits of Louis Mussington, president of the Collectivité, it was Bernadette Davis, 2nd vice-president in charge of the living environment, who went to the Cul de Sac pier on August 5 to see the progress of the Sargassum seaweed collection work. She was accompanied, among others, by Fabien Sésé, secretary general of the prefecture, and did not fail to salute the work done by all the teams at work in recent days. The task was immense: for 120.000 m2 of surface cleaned, 4.000 tonnes of Sargassum were collected and transported to the ecosite. Given the forecasts mentioned above, the collection will continue on the site, in a reinforced team, all under the direction of the Environment department of the Community. If Cul de Sac remains a priority, other sites also benefit from this continuous collection. The sensitive file of sargassum remains at the top of the pile for the Collectivity. Indeed, this one proposes an operation of re-silting of the bay of Cul de Sac which will be discussed with the representative of the State. 

And for a more lasting solution, following ministerial announcements that the State will cover 80% of operating expenses until October 15, a Sargassum committee will be scheduled very soon. _VX

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