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Sargassum Taskforce reports on its work

Posted: Saturday, June 15, 2019. 4:38 pm CST.

By BBN Staff:  Since its pledge in 2018, the Government of Belize (GOB) has taken decisive action against the regional sargassum threat through its established multi-agency entity the Sargassum Task Force.

GOB issued a statement this week, recounting many of the notable activities of the Sargassum Taskforce along with some of its future plans. 

Since its inception, the task force, which is chaired by the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (MTCA), has worked with the National Meteorological Service, the National Emergency Management Organization, and the Department of Civil Aviation on developing a Sargassum drift projection system which, when in its final form, will see Belize as one of the first countries in the region with a sargassum forecasting mechanism. That project is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

The Sargassum Taskforce is also preparing to launch a social media campaign to create awareness for stakeholders and tourists to be aware of what is being done and educate on best practices of how to collect, contain and dispose of the Sargassum. The task force was established in late 2018 after sargassum had affected four major tourist destinations in the country.

As a coping measure, Cabinet approved hotel tax relief for 4 months for accommodation situated on the beach front, and also implemented duty exemption facility for machinery and equipment imported to support clean-up efforts and containment of the Sargassum. GOB also pledged
some BZ$1.5 million to support municipalities for beach clean-up.

“To date, and since the reinstallation of the Sargassum Task Force, over 299 properties have benefitted from the Hotel Tax Relief, with an additional 10 properties taking advantage of the Duty Exemption program for Sargassum Management Equipment,” GOB said.

 

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