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Belize~Short term actions for clean water

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Posted: Wednesday, October 16, 2019. 8:32 am CST.

The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.

This article was written by Richard Harrison, Belizean investor in production and services businesses in Belize. He holds a Master’s in Business Administration degree from Lancaster University.

By Richard Harrison: The Clean Water Alliance is a work-in-progress non-political movement that aims to organize the human and material resources necessary to end further pollution of Belize’s waters and to optimally rehabilitate already polluted waters.

This initiative, of The Belize Citizens Committee, recognizes that Belize’s water crisis is a systematic challenge that goes far beyond the New River and Macal River …and which requires comprehensive systemic solutions.

The call for a comprehensive scientific analysis of the health of the New River and Macal River has been met with some expression of impatience and frustration…especially since the much deteriorated state of the New River continues to make life uncomfortable and perhaps unsafe for humans…and fishes and other wildlife continue to be killed…and the little rains that came have worsened instead of ameliorated the problems…and of course, there are commercial interests.

The people rightfully want to know what is being done in the short, medium and long term comprehensive, funded plan…what are we going to do differently?

Some short term measures could include:

1. Start immediate classroom education and practice…all our schools should always be spic and span…declared “clean zones”…including personal hygeine…with recycling mechanisms…proper rest rooms, etc…make our students take the message to the entire community…even to the urban and rural areas…even to drunks in the street…education in action! Remember ICJ education campaign? The same people might fund this? The Queen of the Bay has committed to playing a role in this.

2. Order, through negotiation with appropriate authorities, for immediate alignment of all legalities surrounding this issue…66 ft water front protection law…environmental protection fund…environmental protection act…declaration of riparian forests as Protected Areas…and the cultural education dimension falls directly under NICH and BTB….inspire our students in every school to do this social service a few hours each week in the community…ministerial discretion should be vested in the Prime Minister himself…and the Clean Water Alliance is a non-political movement that all the professionals educated by Belize can do something concrete in return…lets stop our polluting NOW…and steadily rehabilitate our waters to natural state….

3. If there is widespread expert support for invasive short term strategies…such as EM, oxigenation, aereation, etc…then by all means…slow small doses please…

4. Consolidate the Belize Clean Water Alliance…pool all the domestic and international forces to apply the highest quality human and material resources…to solve a critical human problem…that requires immediate, sustainable action…nothing to do with politics…information and invitation is ongoing among influential interested parties and individuals…these may include Belize Audubon Society, Oceana, World Wildlife Fund, Birds without Borders, Scouts of Belize, Town Councils of Orange Walk and San Ignacio, BTIA, students and grass roots organizations, BNTU and other unions, non-political senators, DOE, ASR/BSI, Fortis/Becol, Coca Cola, Santander, Belize Game Fish Association, Belize tour guide and operators associations, among others…

Medium Term actions could be:

1. The Clean Water Alliance should be consolidated, meeting earliest to receive progress reports from groups already working on the problem…many groups have done some relevant work…and want to be involved…then we negotiate an informed way forward…the only way this will work is if the entire community is effectively convinced to participate…lets do this campaign at least as resourced as the ICJ campaign…lets create a learning industry that cares for our clean waters. Climate Change? Friends of Belize? UNDP? FAO? World Bank?

2. Let us do a comprehensive independent certified analysis of the New River and Macal River in the first instance…determine the pollutants, pollution load and sources of each…if our objective is Clean Water…then how can we deny ourselves the best minds to determine root cause and just solutions…in the relative fields. Have you read the public draft documents by Dr. Ed Boles? Did you hear the 4 scientists from University of Florida? Have you heard the opinion of one of the most highly respected natural scientists in Belize, Jan Meerman? We do not yet have answers to the three questions above…pollutants, pollution load and sources…and thus the just attributors to each is not well informed..

3. We should approach the Attorney General to explain to us the related government laws…with a view to extracting an agreement on reparation for breach, enforcement and updating laws…make an honest attempt at negotiating the best GOB upfront deal for Clean Water.

Such steps will lead us to know what will be necessary for us to do to achieve Clean Water…and derive for us a long term approach.

If anyone believes that government action alone will solve this…in my opinion they have not calculated well…this requires civic effort.

Our speech and actions must allow a respectable, professional decorum with all the allies…including the Government of Belize…unless faced with negativity.

Participate in the building of The New Belize….join by liking the Belize Citizens Committee

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