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Mar 10, 2023

The Reason behind the Dredging in San Pedrito, San Pedro

News of dredging occurring on the western side of San Pedro has raised public concerns. The story spoke to the concerns about the area which is said to be a spawning area for fish and also about the uncertainty of the environmental clearance for the project. But today News Five’s Marion Ali did some searching and found out that the dredging was indeed approved to accommodate big vessels in that area. If it weren’t, things could have gotten much worse at the current location where those vessels are currently docked. Here’s that report.


Marion Ali, Reporting

This story which was posted online recently claims has raised concerns among residents in San Pedro, where the lagoon is situated. It is where dredging of a parcel of land started weeks ago. And while those who have concerns are right, we found out today that this is a case of yielding to a situation that would result with less environmental damage.


Philip Leslie

Philip Leslie, President, San Pedro Tour Guide Association

“We moved the barges to the back because in front they were dumping oil, they were dumping human waste, they were dumping garbage and so forth because they’re using the front and they’re dredging and digging the shallow sea grass beds. So that’s the first stakeholder that was moved. Now we want to do things manageably, so we moved a docking facility for boats to the back, especially international boats – boats going from San Pedro to Mexico, to Chetumal or back from there to San Pedro.”


President of the San Pedro Tour Guides Association, Philip Leslie told News Five today that leaving the vessel to dock on the east side where they do now would have resulted in a worst case scenario for the environment.


Philip Leslie

“If you leave them on the east side, the impact is greater. Those boats will cut down on the shallow sea grass bed. Those boats will dump a lot of fuel and oil in the front portion that will then make its way to the reef because its closer. So we want to protect the reef by moving that activity to the back.”


Marion Ali

“Doesn’t it still reach the reef, just at a later date?”


Philip Leslie

“No because the area is a lagoon, so it’s contained.”


Marion Ali

“Where does it go?”


Philip Leslie

“Well it’s contained at the back and as natural, the mangroves that are still there are the ones that will consume that.”


Marion Ali

“Don’t those die eventually?”


Philip Leslie

“Well if you don’t have development cutting it down, the mangroves will be able to withstand it.”


Today, News Five contacted the Minister of the Blue Economy, Andre Perez, who was traveling to Spain. He informed via message that the dredging that is ongoing is not affecting fishing. He informed that the project has gotten permits to proceed. San Pedro Mayor, Wally Nunez told News Five late this evening that the dredging was approved since there have been complaints about boats not being able to access the area due to the depth of the water. Chief Environmental Officer, Anthony Mai confirmed that the project has environmental clearance from the Department of the Environment. Meanwhile Mayor Nunez informed that there are plans if the canal can be dug out properly, to divert boat traffic to the back of the island. Marion Ali 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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