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Feb 23, 2021

Belama Phase One Residents Concerned About Clearing of Mangrove Patch

Meanwhile there is another land issue brewing in Belize City. Residents near the Antonio Soberanis Crescent are concerned the cutting of mangroves along the Haulover Creek could spell trouble for them causing future flooding.


Duane Moody, Reporting

It is tagged as a private property for sale on the bank of the Haulover Creek in the Belama Phase One area of Belize City.  But what is now clay and landfill, was once a large mangrove patch that has been cleared for development.


Bryton Codd

Bryton Codd, Resident, Belama Phase 1

“We don’t know if there’s been any environmental assessment done by the people who are cutting down the mangrove patches here. If you notice along the street as well, the street was washing away and so we decided as a community to come together to plant back mangroves along the street and so we are very concerned about the impacts of what this type of development can have on our community.”


Bryton Codd is among several residents who back in 2015 had made a complaint to the government about development, when there was movement in the area. A stop order was issued back then, but now it would appear that the green light was given for the mangroves to be removed. Codd, a former environmental science major, who worked with the Ministry of Sustainable Development, says that the clearing goes against environmental law.


Bryton Codd

“It is against environmental law to cut mangroves along the waterways, especially a main waterway like this; this is where the Belize River passes. You should have a sixty feet buffer of what is called riparian forest along the waterway or else it is a breach of environmental law. And so we spoke to Doctor Barnett and she had them stop it for a while. I also reached out to the Department of Environment and specifically had a messaged left for the Chief Forest Officer and they said that they would have someone come and look at it. And now we are here at this situation where the entire area has been cut to the ground and we have loss of biodiversity and we have now complete disregard for the principles of a community that really looks forward to sustainable development around us.”


According to residents, the impact has already been seen during the recent flooding of hurricanes Iota and Eta where water rose to levels never seen before in the area. Codd questions whether an environmental impact assessment was done and what mitigation efforts were considered.


Bryton Codd

“This entire area used to be a mangrove patch; it provided biodiversity home, it provided essential ecosystem services; it acted like a natural sink when there is floods and stuff like that so the community around is not affected. But now that this entire area has been cleared, it makes things a bit more difficult for people in the community because we don’t know what the impacts of the flood will be. Actually with the recent flooding, we have already seen that more and more houses are being affected, families are being affected with the floods and this is not an area that used to flood like that.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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