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Monday, April 12, 2021
Home Letters Too much plastic garbage on Ambergris

Too much plastic garbage on Ambergris

We have traveled to many places throughout the world to spend time snorkeling in tropical seas. We love the ocean and are always concerned about how we humans are treating the water of our planet.

There was one thing that really disturbed us during our stay in Belize: all of our land and water-based guides stressed the need to be careful about the ocean – don?t touch, don?t harm and keep it clean. We thought this was wonderful!

Unfortunately, the same was not true of the land. Everywhere we went on the Caye, we saw garbage. Now we know you recycle glass bottles and aluminium cans, and we saw few of these strewn around. But plastic garbage was all over the place! Many of the resorts/hotels on the east coast of Ambergris Caye do a good job of keeping their beachfronts/waterfronts clean and tidy.

However, as we walked along the beaches and there was a vacant lot or building site (or sometimes a private home) the beaches had loads of paper and plastic trash. We even found plastic trash floating in the ocean out by the reefs on two of our snorkel trips!

One day we rented a golf cart and drove up to the northern part of the caye. All along the cart track there was garbage. We even saw cenotes full of plastic and paper trash. Maybe the tourists were throwing things down, but mostly we saw residents not respecting their island.

We did find a few trash cans in San Pedro saying ?Keep La Isla Bonita Clean,? but there were too few. Several times when we were walking on the beach, we picked up trash and then had to ask bar/restaurant owners for a place to put it as there were no municipal trashcans on the beach.

This trash is getting into your precious ocean and soon, we fear, it will

begin to have a negative impact. It seems you need to put in place a VIGOROUS campaign to educate your citizens that littering will eventually cost them their land, their ocean and their livelihoods. Even if you just begin to teach this in the schools at least you will have a future generation that are intelligent about environmental issues and how they impact all of us.

Some suggestions: (1) Hold civic- sponsored ?beach cleanup? days. We have those here in the US where groups of adults/children comb the beaches and pick up litter. There are small incentives/prizes for groups finding/collecting the most. (2) Put more trash cans for public use along the beaches and throughout town. (3) Start programs in schools that support and teach environmental awareness and anti-littering.

We look forward to returning to Belize and spending time on its cayes and in its incredible ocean. We hope you will begin to see how important it is to keep your lovely country clean.

We write to you (and will write to others) because we CARE…

Judith and Alan Orr

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