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Apr 14, 2021

Conservationists Concerns Did Not Fall on Deaf Ears

In the wake of the approval to Port of Magical Belize, OCEANA Belize have gone on record to say there must be meaningful engagement on all development proposals to support informed decision making. The conservation group claims the government is not looking at the larger picture in terms of the cumulative impact of multiple cruise ports in Belizean waters. We asked Alegria if NEAC has taken this into consideration. Of note is that a number of conservation representatives sit on the National Environmental Assessment Committee.

 

Martin Alegria

Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer, D.O.E.

“That was one of the major issues of concern and discussion with two projects that are being proposed – the whole issue of dredging and the dredge spoil disposal and containment thereof. In this specific case that issue was discussed in terms of methodologies to be used, precautionary measures to protect the environment and also the disposal sites where they are going to dispose the material. In this specific case, they had two sites – one on mainland which is the spoil that might not be usable, usually the top part of it which is all silt. Those are not usable for farm ground or land reclamation or land creation. And those that are more solid and rocks and so on are used. And so those two issues were addressed and again that was where a lot of the discussions, negotiations, back and forth. The role and responsibility of the D.O.E. and the NEAC is in relation to the potential negative environmental impacts and address those. The E.I.A. process as we call it, as people know it, is a project by project basis methodology where yes, over the past decade or so, the whole issue of potential cumulative impacts need to be addressed or looked at and we do take those issues into consideration in terms of if there is certain amounts of development occurring within a geographical area. And those issues are taken into consideration from the environmental perspective, not the economic or socio or political.”


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