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#413826 - 08/13/11 04:22 PM PLACENCIA VILLAGERS CONCERNED WITH WATER QUALITY
Marty Offline
On yesterday’s newscast, we reported on a possible water pollution situation along the cayes on the Placencia Peninsula. For over five weeks residents of the village have been experiencing little to no visibility under water. The cause for the murkiness in the water is not known and the first steps towards investigating the problem started only last week. The problem is already affecting the residents of the village who are dependent on the area’s rich natural beauty and sea life. Today we look in more detail into the problems that the situation has brought the community.

Dalila Ical reporting…
“Residents first made the observation around mid June – visibility in the waters surrounding the nearby Cayes and extending miles into the sea had become very limited.

Lisa Carne – Independent marine biologist
"I believe it was just before lobster season opened which is mid June, a really horrible visibility in the near shore Cayes in Placencia meaning less than 10 feet, very cloudy. I am working on a coral nursery project where I have several structures out by the Cayes and I am growing corals out there in like 25 feet of water and I went out there I couldn’t find them, I had to use the GPS in just 15 feet of water, that is how bad it is. You could barely see your fin tips when you jump over.”

Adrian Vernon – Environmental consultant
"Normally my work has me doing shallow testing on sea grasses; the 15th of last month when I did my sampling in depth that’s about a foot or less I couldn’t take pictures of my sea grasses because of the fact that the visibility is so poor.”

Independent Marine Biologist and consultant Lisa Carne and environmental consultant Adrian Vernon are just two of the many residents of Placencia Village who are concerned over the water conditions. The waters were expected to clear up in no time, but that didn’t happen. Vernon, who has been doing environmental work and research in Placencia for almost ten years, says this is new to him.

Dalila Ical - Reporter
Have you seen anything like this before?

Adrian Vernon – Environmental consultant
“Like this? No, never before. The only thing I would say may have compared to it some years ago was when we had the red tide bloom off the coast of Belize and that wasn’t anything near to what this is doing, the extent that we see this coverage in terms of visibility.”

Dalila Ical - Reporter
Would you be able to say how far this affected area extends into the sea?

Adrian Vernon – Environmental consultant
“Well as far as we have been seeing even by satellite maps and visible on the ground is the fact that this thing is as far up as Tobacco Caye in the South Water Caye Marine Reserve running down along our barrier reef down into Honduras.”

Theories as to the cause range from effects of the oil spill the Gulf of Mexico last year to earthquakes.

Lisa Carne – Independent marine biologist
“We don’t know the cause, nobody can say for sure what is the cause, we hope to find out the cause so we can’t say what is causing it.”

However, some preliminary work may suggest that the community may be dealing with an algae bloom.

Lisa Carne – Independent marine biologist
“We consulted some different experts on what it might be and people have given us links to satellite images that show a higher chlorophyll count, chlorophyll is a photosynthetic cell that is in the algae and so most people are theorizing that it is some type of algae bloom. While we have had algae blooms in the past we’ve never had anything that has lasted this long. This is not something you can touch; it is not a macro algae per say so we are all kind of curious to see what it is and what’s causing it and how long it is going to be around for and if it is going to be a regular event or not.”

Carne While there have been no conclusive tests conducted, Vernon believes it is an algae bloom, the question is…what kind and where is it coming from.

Adrian Vernon – Environmental consultant
“Algae tends to feed on waste. I believe along with the prolonged heat that we had that extensive heat and extensive dry we’ve had backup on nutrients in various areas and probably the first rain flush has been what sparked this. We don’t know for sure whether the source of this bloom is here or if it is around us by our neighbours and we may never now unless there is serious testing done around in our waters to come to a conclusive decision. One, we need to know what type of algae we are dealing with, if it is of course an algae and where are we seeing it more abundant, in such a way that we can say the source is somewhere in such an area. We can track algae according to nutrients and so if it’s higher nutrients load in certain area then we know by density of the algae that this is the area we need to look at.”

The first water samples were taken last week Tuesday, August second by officers of the Fisheries Department who visited the affected areas along with representatives of the Southern Environmental Association, SEA and the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment, TIDE. The results of these tests are still pending.

LOVEFM

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#415229 - 08/31/11 10:32 PM Re: PLACENCIA VILLAGERS CONCERNED WITH WATER QUALITY [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

this "red tide" condition in Belize is quite real...from a friend's fb page

Was hoping the area storms might have "reset" water conditions and lowered water temps and attenuated this bloom in Southern Belize. No such luck. A full image of the Southern coast was available today. (Aug 28, 2011)

These are algae blooms. They’ve been tested twice now by an independent lab.


Click image for larger regional map


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#415746 - 09/09/11 12:34 AM Re: PLACENCIA VILLAGERS CONCERNED WITH WATER QUALITY [Re: Marty]
Bear Offline
Marty is that a SatPhot of SST's?

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#415750 - 09/09/11 01:33 AM Re: PLACENCIA VILLAGERS CONCERNED WITH WATER QUALITY [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
its algae blooms, i'm not sure what SSTs are....

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#416074 - 09/13/11 02:00 PM Re: PLACENCIA VILLAGERS CONCERNED WITH WATER QUALITY [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
ANALYSIS OF WATER IN SOUTHERN BELIZE COMPLETE

In August Love News reported on the development of murky waters offshore from Placencia and along nearby cayes. Residents reported that the low visibility in the water began since May of this year. To date, reports indicate that the situation remains the same in several areas, even though come parts that had been affected are reported to have cleared up. In August, the Fisheries Department and the Southern Environmental Association conducted water sampling at eight sites along the Southern coast including outside the reef at Gladden Spit; Silk Cayes; Laughing Bird Caye; Monkey River; outside Big Creek; and in the Placencia Lagoon. The analysis confirmed what several environmentalists in the Placencia area suspected. The results of the analysis showed the low visibility in the water is as a result of an algae bloom, specifically one that is composed of green algae of the Genus Chlorella. Chlorella is not toxic or harmful, although it has been suggested that in very large quantities it could affect coral health by restricting the amount of light the corals receive. This can have a positive effect as it can protect corals from high intensity solar radiation which contributes to ‘coral bleaching,” but the situation has adverse effects on the fishing and tourism industries. Fishermen have been unable to fish for lobsters and other fin fish in affected areas, while popular tourist areas have been inaccessible due to poor water visibility.

LOVEFM

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#421941 - 11/14/11 03:22 PM Re: PLACENCIA VILLAGERS CONCERNED WITH WATER QUALITY [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

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