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Sep 3, 2019

DOE begins cleanup efforts and studies at the New River

As nature does its part to heal the New River, the Department of the Environment is also starting its efforts to address the situation. Chief Environmental Officer, Martin Alegria says that work begins as early as Wednesday.


Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer

Martin Alegria

“I think starting tomorrow, if I am not mistaken, we will be cleaning up.  You know the dead fish and all those solids that are out there contributing to the stench. We will be cleaning up that section of the river. We will be contracting the private sector companies to do that for us. That is the immediate one. Secondly we are trying to develop, this week, apart from the cleanup we are looking at satellite imageries. Some reports we have had in the recent past about land use from the Lamanai Lagoon itself going down to far past the San Estevan area to see what contributing factors there are that are. We have, easily, over ten fifteen yearswe started working on that New River Situation. Not only with BSI but with many other players that would be what we call point sources of pollution, BSI being the biggest. But you also had at that time other contributing factors, other facilities. And so we started working with them and with BSI but they are just a few of the many contributing factors. When I say a few it is, for example, we also have upstream of the bridge, we also have agriculture runoff and those have been occurring as long as BSI has been there too which is what the people are clamouring no. So, there is a silent contribution being done by these agriculture runoffs. And those is what I was telling you, through the GIS satellite imagery that we are trying to see where these major sources are coming from. Agriculture is one but we also have activities of the town itself. I mean fifteen years ago let’s say there were about twenty thousand people in Orange Walk Town and surroundings. Now, easily it’s around thirty, forty thousand. So, the more the population the more contribution especially based on our culture not being environmentally very conscious. We unknowingly contribute a lot to the pollution that that river is suffering and so it will take us also to be part of the solution.”


Following these and other studies, the department will be conducting specific interventions along the New River.


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