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May 6, 2020

FCD Executive Director Says Environmental Education Program Needed

Rafael Manzanero

The Chiquibul and Vaca Forests have also been destroyed by wildfires, but these have decreased significantly. The rains last week doused the huge inferno that destroyed habitats and killed animals.  The fires in the Vaca Forest and along the western border are believed to have been sparked by Guatemalan farmers slashing and burning in the area. While the wildfires have been contained, they are likely to ignite again since a severe drought is expected. Prevention of the forest fires appears to be an impossible task, but Executive Director for Friends for Conservation and Development, Rafael Manzanero says that the best avenue is through education.


Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, F.C.D.

“There is a need for a public outreach and environmental education programme that has to be an ongoing programme throughout the years to sensitize the public about what to do in terms of preventing forest fires. That is key. Also it is important for people to be sensitized about the impacts that these things have, not only on health but on biodiversity, on climate. All of these are really important in terms of a holistic programme of public outreach. Not that is for the context for Belize like in the case of many areas within the national territory. But for us, we have to build in a bi-national component because the source of the problem of forest fires in the Chiquibul and in the Vaca were also derived from the Guatemala context. Thus public outreach also has to be across borders. We would be engaging our Guatemalan counterparts. In fact we have already started doing that. We would hope that there would be a bi-national task force that could be strengthened. But the application of law is really vital and important. That goes for the national context but also for the regional context. Public outreach is going to be critical as we see longer dry months.”

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