Dredging taking place in Caye Chapel despite lack of EIA
Saturday, March 11th, 2017
Reports of dredging activities on Caye Chapel are once again raising concerns. A dredging machine has been spotted in front of the island, and many environmental and tourism organizations are expressing their disapproval over the ‘beach re-creation’ at Caye Chapel. The project has allegedly been given the green light, despite not undergoing an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
The only response from the Department of Environment (DOE) so far is that the project is a major investment and what is taking place at Caye Chapel is just a pilot project. DOE stated that an EIA will apply to the larger project whenever it begins in the upcoming months.
In a letter dated December 23, 2016 Chief Environmental Officer Martin Alegria granted Environmental clearance for the pilot project. The letter also indicated that the investors at Caye Chapel have permission to upgrade the utilities on the island and to install five temporary tents during the ‘beach creation’ works. It was also stated in the letter that prior to dredging activities, a permit must be obtained from the Mining Unit, within the Ministry of Natural Resources. A copy of this permit was to be submitted to the DOE.
Attempts to confirm if such permits were obtained have been fruitless. On several occasions The San Pedro Sun has attempted to get comment from Alegria, but have been told that he is not available.