UB gets over half a million grant to study acid seas effect on Belize Barrier Reef

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

The University of Belize (UB) is the recipient of a grant of $560,435.93 from the International Atomic Agency’s Technical Cooperation Program (IAEA-TCP), which will be used to study how the acid in the sea is impacting the marine ecosystem of Belize’s Meso-American Barrier Reef. The official announcement of the grant was made on Friday, April 22nd. The funds will assist in the purchasing of laboratory instruments and the training of personnel to measure and monitor marine pollution. The studies will focus particularly in the high acidity levels produced by acid rain running off into the sea.
18 UBThe grant was first announced in December of 2015, when the IAEA’s Deputy Director General and Head of IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Department, Dazhu Yang, wrote Minister of Foreign Affairs Honourable Wilfred Elrington informing him of the approval of a proposal submitted by UB for the 2016/2017 cycle. According to UB’s administration, the funds will also be used for strengthening national capacity for measuring and monitoring marine hazardous waste that threatens the health of the reef.
During a visit to Belize on Tuesday, April 26th, the IAEA-TCP Programme Management Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean, Geovanna Isabel Lucio Ramos met with UB President Alan Slusher, Dr. Aaron P Lewis and the National Liaison Officer for Belize, Mr. Percy Lewis, to discuss the grant. In their meeting they discussed current Technical Cooperation Program (TCP) project activities with countrywide counterparts that are currently working with UB.18 UB 3
Even though the tests will first be conducted in different areas of the southern part of the Barrier Reef, the impact of these studies are expected to have a positive result on the entire reef system. According to the experts, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is in need of total preservation and has been neglected for some time. The upcoming planned tests are aimed to continue its preservation.
According to a local environmental organization on the island, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, such studies will eventually have a positive result, enhancing the health of the reef, especially on the portion in front of Ambergris Caye. Hol Chan looks forward to joining UB wherever necessary in an effort to increase the quality of these tests that are being done on the local marine ecosystems.Belize Barrier Reef MesoAmerican-1
In the longer run, UB aims to partner with the TCP to build Belize’s ability to contribute to the development of a long and fruitful relationship. The administration would like to take this opportunity to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their assistance during the design, submission and approval phase of their project.

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