Photo: Herman Bueckert, from FB Trailers, demonstrating the lifting mechanism
Belize’s DOE joins global efforts to beat plastic pollution on World Environment Day 2023
BELIZE CITY, Mon. June 5, 2023
Belize has participated in a noteworthy activity to mark World Environment Day 2023, which is celebrated annually on June 5. The theme for this year is “Solutions to plastic pollution”, and the event is hosted by Côte d’Ivoire in partnership with the Netherlands.
To mark the occasion, three solar-powered trailers from FB Trailers were delivered to village chairpersons on Monday at the football field in Santa Familia Village, Cayo. Son of FB Trailer manufacturer Herman Buekert told us that these trailers were “made in Belize, by Belizeans for Belizeans.”
Hon. Orlando Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Management, in his keynote address, said that “We need to get conscious in getting rid of plastics.” Habet, who is the area representative of Cayo North East, also noted that microplastics are becoming a local issue because these are being ingested by the fish we eat.
Project coordinator Anthony Morris also took to the podium, and told those in attendance that while working with the DOE (Department of the Environment) he “realized that we can do much advancement in addressing our garbage disposal.”
Morris reported that burning of garbage and illegal dumping have been taking place in the rural communities and that to address the issue, seven communities of the lower Cayo District will now be cooperating with the DOE.
“These trailers can be attached to a truck … to contribute positively to the environment and human health,” he said.
The seven villages will now seek to find a cost-recovery mechanism for garbage disposal. The trailers—four in all (three delivered today; one being kept in reserve)—will be stationed at several quadrants where villagers will be encouraged to deposit their garbage. Those trailers with the garbage will then be taken to the main garbage transfer station.
One of the persons who received a trailer on behalf of her community was chairlady of Santa Familia Village, Joyce Tun, who noted that solid waste management is a global problem, and that garbage is our responsibility.
“As parents, we need to teach our children how to dispose of our garbage,” she said.
It was a meaningful day in Santa Familia Village. The community is surrounded by lush tropical forests, is accessible via meandering roads, and is located near the Belize River. The village of 4,500 now has a lift trailer to call its own.
World Environment Day, which is an initiative coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is aimed at raising awareness and mobilizing action by governments, companies, and individuals to tackle the plastic crisis that threatens the planet and human health.
According to UNEP, more than 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced every year, half of which is designed to be used only once. Of that, less than 10 percent is recycled. An estimated 19-23 million tonnes end up in lakes, rivers, and seas, harming marine life and ecosystems. Plastic also clogs landfills, leaches into the ocean, and is combusted into toxic smoke.