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Jul 18, 2018

CZMAI, OCEANA and WWF Hold First Marine Litter Campaign

During the months of May and June, Belize’s first Marine Litter Campaign was launched by the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute in conjunction with OCEANA and the World Wildlife Fund. The campaign focused on the global issues of marine litter and plastic pollution.  According to Fishing Coordinator, Victor Sho, very little education and outreach campaigns are done in Belize to educate primary and secondary school students on the effects of marine litter and plastic pollution in our waters. This, he says, prompted the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute to carry out beach sampling exercises in fourteen coastal communities.

 

Victor Sho

Victor Sho, Fishing Coordinator, CZMAI

“This workshop now was focused more on teaching the participants how to develop and implement an educational outreach campaign in their home countries as it relates to marine litter. We were also exposed to the trials and triumphs of the Chilean people and how they tackled their problem. Chile is a very long country so it has a lot of beaches so the marine littler should be worse impacting their coast. So they were giving us best practices that they implemented such as having these green points, working with children from local communities to collect data and whatnot. That is what really led us as representatives of Belize to do the same. Try to incorporate the primary and secondary schools to help us gather data and being awareness to this topic. We started to have this ‘throw-away’ lifestyle in that as soon as something is in our hands we want to throw it away rather than reach a garbage bin. The plus side is Belize having such a small population means that the amount of garbage that we produce on a whole isn’t to that great level that it would pollute the oceans overnight. To add to that, because of our thriving tourism industry, the places we visited when we were doing the exercise with the students, we were actually sampling the beach at the same time, showed that in a lot of communities there are people that clean the beach. Whether it is the town council or the resort lodge owners because of their vested interest in keeping their clientele happy. From our studies so far it has shown that Belize is not really at the high end when it comes to marine litter but we are not the lowest either. We are somewhere in the lower mid-point.”

 

During the campaign, CZMAI and Oceana visited fourteen schools in coastal communities across Belize.

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