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Sep 6, 2019

New River Crisis Task Force Formed

A task force has been formed to monitor and address the New River crisis that has not only left students and teachers sick in Orange Walk Town, but also disrupted the economy and daily lives of Orangewalkeños. The task force, which is made up of several government representatives, N.G.O.s and relevant stake holders met today in Belmopan to forge a path forward to restore the New River.  A lengthy release from the Department of Environment says that the Department has continuously monitored the effluent discharge of A.S.R.-B.S.I and other major industries along the New River, which has resulted in reductions in the concentration of non-toxic compounds. The temperature and sulphates of the A.S.R.-B.S.I. effluent remains a challenge, but greater emphasis has now been placed on technology to bring these within limits. The cumulative discharge of every other entity also results in a large amount of non-toxic compounds going into the New River. Attending the meeting today was orange Walk South Area Representative, Jose Abelardo Mai, who explained the three urgent steps that the task force is taking.


Jose Abelardo Mai, Member, New River Task Force

Jose Abelardo Mai

“Once they can ascertain that the levels of this gas is below or even if the presence   of this gas and if it is below the required or rather below the standards then we are safe to go. That is the first order of the day, to first test the air, sample the air to see if this gas is present. If it is present then in what concentration it is. There are things that we can do to try and oxygenate the water and w ant the public to know that there is no easy solution to this crisis. The Department of Environment is seeking to acquire aerators which are used in shrimp ponds. They are also pumps to start to agitate the waters. I most warn the public that it can get a little worse before it improves. There are also looking at the possibility of using bio agents which are other beneficial organisms that you put in the water. But that again, everything has an advantage and disadvantage. The use of bio agents have to be used very cautiously. These are microorganism. You can create some kind of imbalance. You don’t know what will be the reaction. So it has to be done first in a very small area and even after it is done, it doesn’t work one day to the next. It takes time.”


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