Posted: Wednesday, April 28, 2021. 4:05 pm CST.
By Zoila Palma: Today, Belize Sugar Industries Ltd. (BSI) issued a statement sharing actions it has taken in response to the situation affecting the New River.
“We are acutely aware of the challenges that the New River faces and the need for committed and concerted efforts to address them. In fact, we monitor the condition of the river regularly and submit the data to the Department of the Environment (DOE) as part of our ongoing commitment to transparency under our Environmental Compliance Plan (ECP),” BSI noted.
BSI expressed its support for the DOE and all those working to identify the root causes and long-term solutions to meet these serious environmental challenges.
BSI says that it uses river water for cane milling, sugar process, and plant cleaning.
“All water that BSI returns to the New River is treated and tested within strict compliance criteria. No chemical products enter the river from BSI,” the statement added.
BSI says that just over a year ago, it undertook a major study of its water cooling and quality processes and general impact on the New River and as a result of that, these actions were taken:
installed aerators in its cooling ponds to improve the quality of water re-entering the river, often to better levels than at extraction from the river
approved a project to line a buffer pond to ensure no seepage into the river, which will be completed in May
agreed to continue to monitor water quality in the river and to supply regular reports to DOE
took a strategic decision to invest Bz$30m to shift its raw sugar and molasses export logistics process on shore, taking barges and tugs out of the New River from next crop
approved a Bz$10m project to install a water cooling tower to reduce the temperature level of water re-entering the river, which will be installed during this off crop.
BSI says that there are many causes for the poor quality seen in the river.
These require a holistic approach requiring action from all members of the community
BSI says it remains committed to playing its part as a responsible member of the community and through significant investment, it will contribute to the river’s renovation.
“BSI through our Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) department continues to work closely with the DOE,” BSI said.
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