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Editorial – Friday August 30th. 2019

Editorial – Friday August 30th. 2019
August 30
12:36 2019

The Belize New River is a precious Belizean heritage, special in many ways. It is a slow-moving stream whose headwaters do not come from a mountain source like most rivers, but from a large fresh water lake known as the New River Lagoon, the largest inland concentration of fresh water in the country. It empties into Corozal Bay.

At the head of the lagoon is the ancient Maya City of Lamanai, which is unique for being the oldest Maya site to be continuously occupied for more than 3,000 years. The rain forest of Orange Walk which cradles this pristine lake contributes to the beauty and splendour and unique value of the place.

Belize is a land of many rivers, thanks to the Maya Mountains which rise like a huge spine, buttressing more than half of mainland Belize, providing a wide and ample watershed. But no river is more important than the Belize New River, as an artery of commerce, as a hub of tourism and as a source of fresh water for the numerous communities which have grown to depend on it.

That is why Belizeans are so upset at the staggering loss of acquatic life on the river and the enormous pollution caused by fertilizer leachings and the dumping of chemical waste from the BSI sugar factory.

A river of such slow pace cannot tolerate pollution of any kind.

This year’s drought has added to the stress on the river. This result should have been anticipated by the Department of the Enviornment in Belize’s Climate Change plans, because this particular river has shown signs of fatigue before.

We hope that this year’s terrible experience will teach us all a lesson on the importance of environmental care, will lead to more conscientious regulations for the environment, and will impress on the government of Belize the need to impose stiff penalties on those who pollute.

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