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May 15, 2018

Tests to Determine What’s Killing Fish in O.W., Ambergris

One week ago, we reported on the apparent pollution of the New River in the area of Orange Walk Town as well as villages to the north and east, including San Estevan, Trial Farm, and San Jose. Toxic chemical waste from ponds overlooking the river are leaching into it, causing the deaths of hundreds of river fish and plant life and driving away other forms of wildlife. But who is causing it? That is the question that the Department of the Environment says it is still trying to answer one week later, as well as a separate incident in San Pedro Town. This evening, C.E.O. in the Ministry of the Environment, Dr. Percival Cho, told News Five that they have just gotten back the results of test samples from both Orange Walk and San Pedro to be analyzed. But the early view is that a breakdown in organic material – sargassum in the case of San Pedro, tree leaves and bark in the case of Orange Walk, has led to a reduction in oxygen levels that is killing the fish off, exacerbated by recent rains. The Department is continuously monitoring activity on the river. While Orange Walkenos believe the true culprit to be none other than the Tower Hill Sugar Factory owned by American Sugar Refining/Belize Sugar Industries Limited. For its part, A.S.R./B.S.I. says it is cooperating in the investigation. Results are expected in a few days.

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