I pulled up to one of my favorite spots in Belize, the Maracas Bar and Grill. I immediately went to my favorite table by the riverside, but had to leave immediately because the stench from the river was so bad.
Now, I am not one of those educated scientists, but you don’t need to be one of those to know that something is drastically wrong with this Belize New River. What amazes me is the fact that we have so many Belizean and foreign environmental NGOs who care about the coral reefs and so far, we have heard almost nothing from them, or from the Government on what we will do to correct this horrible and urgent situation.
Many may think that this is an Orange Walk problem, but it’s not; it’s everyone’s problem, whether you are into environment, tourism or agriculture, or you are just someone who enjoys the great outdoors. This is our problem and a state of emergency should be declared so that we can immediately fix this problem.
We are lucky that the rainy season has not hit the north this year, because, can you imagine what would, and will happen, when all that poison is washed out into the sea, which is host to the second largest barrier reef in the world?
What measures are being taken to prevent that from happening? After all, the top three industries in Belize – fisheries, tourism and agriculture— can and will be affected. I’m hopeful that the leaders in this country — government and non-government – will pay serious attention to this situation.
We all know that the sugar factory is dumping into the river, and that needs some serious investigation. I hope it’s not the case that because we get grants and handouts from the EU and they buy almost all Belize’s sugar, that we can’t call them out for crimes against Belize’s environment.
The best time to act was last year, but we failed, so now is the next best time. Come on, people; let’s take a stand today!
Punta Gorda, Toledo District