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Apr 30, 2015

DOE Launches 3-year Chemical Waste Management Project

Ten years ago, the government of Belize ratified several environmental management conventions and address, through international assistance and programs, issues of chemical and waste management. Three phases have been accomplished since 2005 and those initiatives have placed processes and protocols in place to manage chemicals in the country. Today at the Radisson Fort George, the Department of Environment launched the fourth phase through a project funded by the United Nations Development Program. The three-year project is being organized by Doctor Pedro Julio Villegas. Chief Environmental Officer, Martin Alegria, says that the project will look at strengthening institutional capacities to support sound management practices.

 

Martin Alegria

Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer

“In a nutshell, what this fourth initiative is to one deal with existing stockpile of wastes, DDTs, PCBs, obsolete pesticides and see how we can finally dispose of it in an environmentally friendly manner. And secondly to strengthen institutions that we have identified need to be strengthened in terms of chemicals management and chemicals can be divided into three major scenarios: the pharmaceuticals, medicines; you have the agrochemicals including the veterinary and fertilizers and then the industrial waste, the industrial chemicals. That’s the one that the Department of Environment is directly responsible for and we are pushing, while the other ministries such as health, agriculture are pushing the other subsectors of the chemicals.”

 

Duane Moody

“So it is really a cross-section…”

 

Martin Alegria

“This is a multisectoral approach where we have an inter-governmental coordinating group consisting of government, N.G.O.s, private sector, everybody because we can’t do it alone. We need everybody’s input.”

 

Pedro Julio Villegas

Dr. Pedro Julio Villegas, National Project Manager

“One of the most important components of this project is to address bad practices in agriculture. We aim to assist farmers in the north of the country, the farmers that work in the sugar cane industry, in the introduction of green practices. It is common that they burn the cane before and after they harvest it. And then we are assisting the farmers through sensitization workshops, through technical assistance to improve the practices they are doing. At the end of the project, we are supposed to get like six hundred acres of sugar cane under sugar cane practices. This is one of our goals. Also address informal dumpsites that we have in the western corridor.”

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