Cunningham Covers

Do you need a clever protective cover?

Improving lives through the manufacture of Clever Protective Covers

Call Us  +44(0)28 7964 2638
Do you need a clever protective cover?
Improving lives through the manufacture of Clever Protective Covers
Call Us  +44(0)28 7964 2638

Sargassum Barriers for Human & Aquatic Protection

Every year, millions of eager travel-goers visit beaches around the world whilst on their holidays. This should be a relaxing time, but when we see the dreaded seaweed filled shores, this can be a spoiler.

In recent years, the pollution of our world’s oceans has been a topic of discussion for our environmental protection advocates. The same way we are working towards the use of more sustainable materials to reduce marine pollution, resorts and councils have a responsibility to maintain beach safety for visitors.

One popular destination is making moves towards cleaner beaches ahead of peak holiday season. In Mexico, recent articles highlight the issue of Sargassum Muticum – brown seaweed that floats in large mats on the ocean surface (*1). This has been washing up on the Mexican coastline, disrupting the picturesque white sandy beaches we imagine. Hotels in the Riviera Maya have installed over 1,480 Sargassum Barriers to tackle the issue.

Soil Removal Site in Co. Cork with Cunninghams Silt Curtain

Cunninghams Silt Curtains

At Cunningham’s, our Silt Curtains are the ideal solution! For years we have been manufacturing our Silt Curtains from 900gsm Industrial PVC Tarpaulin to create the highest quality containment system. Sargassum Barriers require the same application.

Our reinforced silt curtains are high-frequency welded, bolted and riveted to ensure maximum durability when deployed into even the most extreme bodies of water. We have installed silt curtains across UK and Ireland, used for dredging, civil works and much more. For these water-related projects, the curtains have incorporated floating devices, allowing the system to sit on the water surface. This allows for quick and easy movement when required.

Our systems are manufactured to suit any size. The ease of movement allows the silt curtains to be adjusted for seasonal use, alongside projects which require long-term stability. The images below show a project in Glenarm, Northern Ireland we supplied curtains for sediment containment during dredging.

Silt Curtains for Dredging at River in GlenarmGlenarm River Dredging with Silt Curtains

Increased Sargassum Pollution

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (*2), satellite-based monitoring in the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt provides accurate information on the abundance and distribution of seaweed. This however will not predict specific landing locations. Year on year, as water temperatures rise in correlation with global warming, levels and locations of seaweed deposits continue to increase.

A major benefit of silt/pollution curtains for government agencies is the preventative measures of seaweed deposits. There are many reasons for this, including the costs associated with collection and removal efforts, individuals’ exposure to chemicals which are produced when the vegetation dies and decomposes and affects to the tourism industry. In Co. Wexford, Ireland for example, CoastWatch are using volunteers to remove seaweed by hand (*3).

Silt Curtain for Soil Removal at Contaminated Land in Co. Cork

The image above shows a surround silt curtain for a project in Co, Cork, Ireland. Previously, a disused factory contaminated the land, so safe removal of soil without infiltrating the surrounding ecological habitats was required.

Benefits of Sargassum Barriers

This issue also increases the removal of native vegetation which is difficult to separate once matted. Cunninghams silt curtains require little to no maintenance and provide peace of mind that infiltration and deposits cannot occur.

Our curtains will also help reduce the quantity of seaweed added to landfill sites every year by hotels and local authorities, securing the sargassum in its natural habitat.

Our specially coated industrial strength material provides oil and UV resistance for protection against degradation and prolong the life of the material. The material is also impenetrable so no material can pass through and cause cross-contamination. This ground-breaking prevention method is therefore suitable for all types of applications and we are proud to help with a fast and efficient solution.

Cunninghams export to over 50 countries and have perfected our bespoke tarpaulins over 50 years in business. We are experts in innovative solutions for all industry.

Read more on our Silt Curtain Solution. For bespoke applications, contact us directly.


(*1) Reference: The Cancun Sun

(*2) Reference: United States Environmental Protection Agency

(*3) Reference: The Irish Times

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