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Mar 4, 2022

Manage the Garbage along the Riverbanks Is Important for the Future of the Race

And while the La Ruta Maya race is an event that has survived more than two decades, protecting the health of the river where the race is conducted is where the challenge lies. Here’s News Five’s Marion Ali with a report on how organizers plan to keep the river and its banks clean and safe.


Marion Ali, Reporting

The Belize River which transforms into the Mopan River in Cayo has been used in the past as a key artery for transportation, well before there was a George Price or Western Highway.


Roberto Harrison

Roberto Harrison, Vice Chairman, Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge

“The river was used as a communication for various things: bringing up goods, transporting people down and up from here to Belize City.”


But as the population grew and development thrived, keeping the river and its banks clean has posed a challenge. And with river events that draw large crowds along the river’s edge, such as the Belikin La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge, keeping the waterway free of dirt and pollution is important for the environment. Organizer of the river race, Roberto Harrison, says there have been efforts to manage the amount of trash generated.


Roberto Harrison

“Clearly, from a committee standpoint, I think we need to do a little bit more from the environmental side to help protect the river and to have it as a cleaner source of water for the people that live down the river. We have been a bit negligent and it’s something that we have to put on the table again to partner with those environmental groups that are there to protect the environment to join with us and clean the river, not only for the event but during the course of the year as well. One of the things we tell our paddlers is if you have drinking bottles, or plastic water bottles please keep your garbage in your canoe and you empty those at the end of the day or wherever you can.”


Paddler, Chris Guydis says that his team tries their best to keep their refuse in their canoes.


Chris Guydis

Chris Guydis, Guydis Canoe Steeler Team

“You’ll find a couple (pieces of) garbage but most of the paddler are aware that this is the river we use so my paddlers – we don’t throw anything out, so we keep it in the boat and we trash it when we get in and a lot of the paddlers do that too. We find a lot of trash along (the way) but we don’t know where it comes from.” 


Marion Ali

“You all carry your garbage weight.”


Chris Guydis

“Yeah, so carry your weight. It’s just a little plastic.”


But because there will be some trash that will escape, and because there are some who deliberately litter, Harrison says they have teamed up with schools to help in cleaning up the riverbanks. Chensy Reyes and her classmates from Sacred Heart College’s Interact Club were out to lend a hand to the cleaning up after today’s crowd had dispersed in Santa Elena.


Chensy Reyes

Chensy Reyes, Interact Club President, Sacred Heat College

“People come out to enjoy the race and they tend to leave their garbage behind but we’re here just to do the after (event) clean up. We find water bottles, straws, chips bags, all sorts of plastics and cans.”


Marion Ali reporting for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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