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Government of Belize announces public information session regarding the New River

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Posted: Wednesday, February 26, 2020. 6:11 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: Today, the Government of Belize, via the Department of the Environment (DOE) announced that there will be a public information session regarding the condition of the New River on Friday, March 6.

The session will be held at the Gala Lounge in Orange Walk Town and will begin at 6:00 p.m.

“The Department of the Environment (DOE) along with key stakeholders will present on the current conditions of the New River, update on the work that has and will continue to be conducted by the DOE and other partners. Additionally, there will be a presentation on the results of studies conducted to understand the river dynamics in order to plan and strategize on efforts to restore the ecosystem health of the New River,” the DOE said.

The DOE added that the information to be presented will include but not be limited to: the results of the Water Quality Assessment conducted of the New River by the University of Florida (UF); the Water Quality Diagnosis of New River by Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development (SACD); the Department of the Environment’s assessment of the inspections conducted along with the Public Health Bureau on key light industries Activities conducted in 2019 in response to the degradation of the river; and the current and future activities to be conducted considering the National Meteorological Service of Belize projected scenarios.”

The department also noted that the northern districts were severely affected by an extreme drought last year, which contributed to the worsening of the river’s condition. The river was said to already be in a vulnerable state due to effluent input from industrial and non-industrial sources, which caused an overgrowth of plant life in the river, depleting the water’s oxygen content. The result was the deaths of thousands of fish and the release of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas, which caused a putrid smell along the river’s path.

The Ministry, through the DOE, established the New River Task Force to spearhead the collaborative efforts to address the problem and serve as a mechanism to provide guidance in developing and implement strategies/plans/programs for the restoration of the New River Watershed.

With the National Meteorological Service projecting a similar drought this year; the department says that it will continue to monitor the situation with the New River.

The Ministry, the DOE, and the New River Task Force encourage all interested persons and organizations to attend the event.

 

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