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Feb 23, 2023

Fish Kill in Manmade Canal Off the Boom Road

Today, a News Five team was called out to a manmade canal that leads from Ray Cattouse’s property through the compound of Teichroeb and Son’s Limited and funnels into the residential area that leads to Bacab Eco Park.  While the canal starts from Cattouse’s compound, the polluted water begins further downstream. When we visited the area, there is a pungent smell permeating the air; the water is black and a closer look shows that there has been a fish kill. Residents in the area believe that it is a result of residue from the disposal of plastics that is seeping into the canal. Today, a team from the Department of Environment headed out to the area, as an investigation begins on this latest report of a fish kill.


Duane Moody, Reporting

A fish kill is being reported in a manmade canal that flows through Teichroeb and Sons Limited on the Boom/Hattieville Road in the Belize District.  The water is dark, almost stagnant and is littered with dead fish.  The Department of Environment confirms to News Five the fish kill and the visibly polluted water spans beyond the company’s property, but is currently contained due to the dry weather.


Anthony Mai

Anthony Mai, Chief Environmental Officer, Department of Environment

“We received a report of fish kill within a canal that is located within the Boom Road area. We prepared internally and we deployed a team to the area to investigate the issue. The team is currently on the ground still collecting data and trying to understand exactly what is happening. But what we did is we went and did an area flyover with a drone in terms of getting aerial footage of the area and that is important because that will show all the connecting tributaries to the manmade canal. The good thing we have observed is that the situation is currently contained. The canal during the heavy rainy season would drain into the river, but at this point in time it is not, so it is still contained. The officers on the ground are doing their investigation to try to identify exactly where it is coming from. I think the investigation is going good. They identified an area where we have clear water coming into the canal and then the darker water. So the water colour in the canal is currently very dark and there is visible sign of fish kill.”


For a few years now, Ray Cattouse, a resident who lives on the Philip Goldson Highway, has been complaining of an operation undertaken by Green Wave Industries – it is a company that was developed to get rid of hazardous waste, but has recently began disposing of carbonated beverages.  Cattouse believes that the company may be responsible for the fish kill.

Ray Cattouse

Ray Cattouse, Resident

“I’ve been taking a licking with this thing for years now. If you could remember, you guys come out here a couple years ago to do a story on this thing because when yo see dry weather come like this and this thing catch fire, I take a licking.  But all that stuff weh Mister Canul di dump into my canal, it goes straight across to Mister Teichroeb canal and then across the road. I’ve been calling out DOE, I call out the police. Every year I have problem with this thing yah. And the young lady at DOE actually told me on the phone, ih say Mister Cattouse, I sympathise with you sir, we can’t touch Mister Canul because Mister Canul got protection from upstairs.”


Anthony Mai

“That location is a facility that has received environmental clearance to process expired Pepsi that has been in the country for a while, so the Department of Environment gave that company specific procedures to follow as it relates to neutralising this type of waste. And so, the officers have visited that location and we are just waiting for them to come back to generate the report and then to see how we can move this issue forward. Again, we did not target that specific company. The area is kinda like an industrial area; there are several different facilities within that area so we were very careful to ensure that we visited all the major facilities within that area to be able to come up with a determination as to where the possible issue is coming from, to identify its source.”


Cattouse says that the canal was made to assist residents in the area during times of flooding.
Ray Cattouse

“My canal runs directly across because between me and Mister Teicroeb, we join the canal so that in rainy weather, the place don’t flood and the water go straight through.  But this outta order. You see how all the fish dehn dead? We used to….that canal, we used to bathe in deh, ketch fish fi eat. Now, yo can’t even go close to the canal cause the stink di kill yo. I talk to Mister Canul about it, Mister Canul noh want do nothing; I talk to DOE, dehn noh want do nothing; I bring out the police and show dehn and dehn noh want do nothing.”


But Chief Environmental Officer Anthony Mai says that the investigation will reveal exactly who is responsible for the environmental issue. Samples have been collected and will be tested. The environmental officers have the capacity to interpret those results to ascertain the situation on the ground as it relates to the degraded water quality.


Anthony Mai

“We took samples to ascertain the water quality. We used an equipment that is used on site to identify certain parameters and we’ve noted that the dissolved oxygen within the creek is very low and so that may be a contributing factor as to why the fish died. The PH seems to be normal. The PH is actually seven point one nine which is a normal level and an okay level. The salinity is okay and so dissolved solids, temperate – so in terms of the institute parameters, things seem to be fine except the dissolve oxygen levels. We also took grab samples at five different locations. We are testing for COD sulphates, phosphate nitrates and other parameters. Again this is important because this will point to what the real situation is on the ground.”


Duane Moody 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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