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Jul 5, 2017

Has Oil Spill from Guatemala Reached Belize’s Sarstoon?

Did Guatemalan oil spill reach as far as into Belize’s waterways? There has been no official statement from the Department of Environment, but it is widely believed that there is a possibility due to the proximity of the scene of the spill to Belize. It happened along the Pan American highway off the banks of the Gracias Dios River. That river has a tributary called Rio Chacon and that runs directly into the Sarstoon River. So, today the media went deep into Belize all the way to Cadenas to see if the oil was present in Belizean waters. While there was no physical evidence, Guatemalans told the media that the oil was visible in Belizean waters about two days ago. Our news team just got back to Punta Gorda and will have the full story on Thursday. But here is a snippet from the trip today.

 

Alyssa Carnegie

Alyssa Carnegie, Director of Communications, OCEANA Belize

“We did want to come here and see what was going on because according to some of the media reports they said their pictures were taken by Gracias A Dios and the N.G.O.s were reporting that four thousand gallons of crude had spilled and they were really concerned about the mitigation efforts. And so we had an opportunity to come down here and we thought it was good to come and see and why not give the Belizean media and by extension the Belizean public an opportunity to see. And because this is an area that is not frequently visited by Belizeans but we thought it was an important area to come on the ground and see for ourselves what is happening.”

 

Froyla Tzalam

Froyla Tzalam, Executive Director, SATIIM

“When I look at it from the B.N.N. Cap and APAMO Cap, talking about mitigating disasters, I think this oil tanker is such disaster and I am not sure if there is a plan, if it has been shelved, if it is enforceable. So, it does highlight some concerns of mine, like where is the G.O.B. regarding this issue and if such a tanker were to overturn in Belize, what would be the implications of that on the physical environment. So, it is from that perspective I am concerned.”

 

 

Wil Maheia

Wil Maheia, Founder, BTV

“This is a wakeup call for us to know that there are thousands and thousands of gallons of crude going back and forth within a few hundred feet of the Sarstoon River and you can hear the trucks right behind us on the Pan American Highway. There needs to be some kind of mitigation put in place to prevent any accident that should happen – we know accidents do happen. The fact is that this river flows into the Gulf of Honduras. It is an amazing bird life down there, an amazing fishery down there. If oil should spill in those areas it will affect thousands of people not only on the Belize side, but also on the Guatemala and Honduras side.”

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1 Response for “Has Oil Spill from Guatemala Reached Belize’s Sarstoon?”

  1. Belizean pride says:

    Thank you to this NGOs for doing something for our country. As usual PM, MOF and the rest haven’t heard from that or they haven’t seen the report and to make it worst they don’t remember as all gov officials seem to be forgetting things these days.
    Glad to see NGOs doing what our gov is lacking to do which is a shame.

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