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Tourists have been left disgusted by foul smelling seaweed that has washed up on Mexican beaches and turned water brown.
Holidaymakers looking for sun and pristine sand in popular destinations such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum have been greeted instead by mounds of sargassum - a seaweed-like algae.
Beaches - Turquoise - Waters - Experts
It has piled up on beaches and turned turquoise waters brown, with experts warning it may be the new normal.
Mexico's Riviera Maya Caribbean coast provides half the country's tourism revenues and very little sargassum reached it prior to 2014.
Combination - Climate - Change - Pollution - Fertilisers
But a possible combination of climate change, pollution from fertilisers and ocean flows and currents carrying the algae mats to the Caribbean has caused the problem to explode.
It may not have the global impact of melting of polar ice, but the vast mats of sargassum filling the Caribbean could be one of the more visible climate-change events because of the sheer number of people who visit the region's popular tourist beaches, some officials say.
Spokesman - Government - Mexico - State - Quintana
A spokesman from the government of Mexico's resort-studded coastal state of Quintana Roo said: 'This is one of the biggest challenges that climate change has caused for the world.
'This challenge requires a joint, multinational effort and a global commitment.'
Tourist - Arrivals - Cancun - Airport - Cent
While tourist arrivals at Cancun airport were up 3.3 per cent in March over the same month last year, many fear this will not last long with the sargassum spoiling white beaches and leaving a rotten egg smell as it decomposes.
As it decays and sinks to the bottom of the sea, it can also smother the coral the Caribbean is known for - and accumulations on beaches can make it harder for sea turtles to nest.
Jef - Gardner - Visitor - Playa - Carmen
Jef Gardner, a frequent visitor to Playa del Carmen from Knoxville, Tennessee, said: 'In my humble opinion it's a disaster that will...
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