World Oceans Day observed in San Pedro with beach clean-up; other environmental entities encourage Belizeans to take care of the sea
Thursday, June 10th, 2021
San Pedro Town joined the worldwide celebration of Oceans Day on Tuesday, June 8th, with a beach clean-up. The activity took place at Robles Point in northern Ambergris Caye, which is not just a remote area, but a critical nesting site for sea turtles.
This year’s theme for the annual Oceans Day is ‘The Ocean: Life and livelihood.’ In San Pedro, the sea is an essential source of livelihood for the fishing and tourism sector. Thus, the San Pedro Town Council, via its Councillor Johnnia Duarte, carried out the beach clean-up with the support of islanders Elito Arceo and Miguel Alamilla. The activity saw adults and children participating in what has become a constant attempt to keep the beach clean and the sea free of hazardous rubbish.
Some of the rubbish found washing ashore originate from nearby communities and countries. In some of these places of origin, there is no proper disposal of garbage which ends up in rivers and then in the seas/oceans. Another portion of the trash is left behind by islanders, who visit the island’s remote beaches and leave their trash after picnicking. Organizers urge visitors to these areas to be responsible and not litter. It is essential to keep our environment clean and healthy as it provides food and natural habitats for marine life such as sea turtles, who nest in these areas every year.
Other entities honored the day
The Hol Chan Marine Reserve sent out a message saying that it is important to remember that people’s activities on land can affect the ocean. “The ocean provides countless services to us such as being a source of food, job, habitat, and recreation.” Hol Chan indicated that over the days that they have been conducting water quality monitoring. They invite the public to follow their Facebook page for updates on their marine conservation activities.
The Belize Fisheries Department also sent out a message reminding Belizeans of the ocean’s importance. According to this department, over the past 20 years, Belize has made significant efforts and has embarked on several initiatives geared towards protecting the sea. On World Oceans Day, the Fisheries Department calls for progressive measures, innovative interventions that positively impact the environment and improve the livelihoods of all Belizeans.
It was emphasized that the human footprint is taking its toll on the seas/oceans. The rising levels of pollution, irresponsible exploitation, unsustainable development, invasive species, the influx of sargassum, marine diseases, and climate change have led to these alarming levels of degradation. The fisheries department warned it is a threat to jeopardize the oceans’ functionality and consequently risk humans’ health and livelihood.
The Belize Fisheries Department urges everyone to start acting now and help in restoring balance to ensure a better future for the planet.
23%.53 of Belize’s territorial seas are designated Marine Protected Areas (MPA), while 6.28% have been put aside as replenishment zones within its Exclusive Economic Zone. Belize is the leader in the region, boasting a network of 14 MPAs and 13 spawning aggregation sites.
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