A workshop to bring awareness to the importance of chemical management was hosted today in Belize City by the Department of the Environment. Since 2006 the Department has been working toward goals for the safe elimination of certain harmful chemicals used in Belize as well as preparing for new challenges. Chief Environmental Officer Martin Alegria updated us on two aspects of its work. First he discusses the plan to eliminate harmful chemicals.
“This projects has four major components. Two of the major ones I could right off the bat tell you is, one, to get rid of or finally dispose of obsolete pesticides, obsolete chemicals such as DDT. Some PCB oils, trying to clean up the Belize environments in some of these private sectors or government sectors that have use these chemicals and dispose of it environmentally abroad. Where? That’s what this project is trying to resolve. Europe, Canada, US, we don’t know. But that is part of it, so we’ll be cleaning up what has been there for years stock pile with possible negative impacts on our health.”
Alegria also spoke about promoting “green harvesting” and the use of chemicals in agriculture.
“Secondly, we are trying to incentivize or sensitize private sectors from two angles; One, the solid waste management authority. We have partnered with them, if you have noticed in the boom area, we are rehabilitating the boom to become a transfer station similar to mile 3 and in Cayo. In order to avoid these open dumb burnings as we know it. Why? Because these open dumb burnings include plastics and other hazardous chemicals which eventually damage our health and environment. We are avoiding that by partnering with them to put a good management control into that initiative. We are also working with CIRDI, in the cane farmers with a little plot where we are trying to show that grain harvesting is possible. Grain harvesting will then also avoid all these unintended pollutants in the air from all these massive cane field burning before and after harvesting.”