From Students, to softball clubs, to private organizations; hundreds of individuals came out on Saturday to clean up garbage along the entire 77 miles of the George Price Highway. The event was organized by the Department of the Environment in collaboration with the Belize Waste Management Authority and the Belize Audobon Society. Celi Cho, Environmental Officer is one of the Organizers.
“It was the Belize Audubon Society that actually started it in 2009 and they did it for several years up to 2012 and they stopped in 2013. We along with Solid Waste Management Authority, asked them what happened and we decided that we wanted to do a collaboration to the Walk For a Green Belize Campaign clean up initiative. We thought it was important because littering is a huge problem in Belize and if we just continue to have the highways littered, it looks really bad. So, we decided to join with Audubon to do the clean up because we said maybe they needed a bit more assistance, maybe they can continue it. This is the second year that the Department of the Environment worked along with the Audubon Society and the Solid Waste Management Authority to clean up. “
Emmanuel Pech – Plus T.V Reporter
“For a layman like myself, what will the DOE use that data for?”
“We collected this data because; one we wanted to know – see last year we collected data so we wanted to know if it’s more litter that’s going on the highway or is it less. From what I remember, last year it was actually more. This year, what we want to do is do an education campaign. So if we do this again next year, we can know how effective that that education campaign was when comparing the amount of bags that was collected. If there is a great reduction, then we know that our campaign was successful. “
“Assuming that the DOE continues with this initiative next year, and the year after that?”
” The Department of the Environment, we are hoping to continue with this initiative every year and the ultimate goal, along with Solid Waste Management, is to have a national clean up day.”
43 groups and organizations came participated in this cleanup campaign. We stop along the way to speak to some of the students who partook in this initiative.
“How many groups are out here today.”
“At this moment we are four groups, we have the Student Government, the IFSA Club , the Environmental Club and one club that I can’t remember the name right now. “
“How many miles have you guys covered so far?”
“So far, about a mile. We have one more mile to go. I am not too sure how they subdivided it but we got two miles to do.”
“So you’d encourage other people to come out next year possible since they couldn’t come out for this year?”
“Yes, I would encourage more students to come out and to support us in the different things that we do especially things like this. The public of course would be a great influence. We have to learn to take care of what is ours… we got to learn how to take care of Belize and more importantly, we have to learn to take care of the world and the environment because the environment is only there for us. If we don’t take care of it then it simply won’t be there soon.
“Tell me as a Belizean, most of the garbage that you see here is garbage that you see on the highway is garbage that people throw out their windows when they pass in their car. What are you seeing out there on ground. The level of littering that is here on the highway.”
It is very filthy, since we started we have filled about nineteen garbage bags. So we are asking the community at large to please put the garbage in your bags or until you can get to the nearest garbage bin to dispose of your garbage. If we do that, we will help when it comes to bush fire. It is very hot right now and when we litter, we cause bush fires. The place is filthy and dirty and it says a lot about us as Belizeans.”
An estimated 2,363 bags of garbage were collected yielding a weight of approximately 16,541 pounds of garbage. The Department of the Environment takes this opportunity to remind motorists, passengers and the general public travelling along Belize’s Roadways that littering is an offence and can carry a fine of $100 dollars for a person and $500 dollars for a company.