Building Along the Injured Coast
The activities continue for Coastal Awareness Week. It began on Monday with the launch of The State of the Belize Coastal Zone Report. Today the
discussion deepened and was centred on the topic of “Sustainable, Planned Coastal Development”. Now in the era of climate change and rising sea levels
– any development along the coast is suspect, because the experts say that in a few decades it could be submerged. Courtney Weatherburne found out more
from the experts:….
Courtney Weatherburne Reporting
Sea front property is the most highly valued real estate in Belize. But while the view is stunning, the damage and erosion of the coastal lines is not.
Erosion of the coastal line has a detrimental effect not only on the survival of marine life, but as well as human life. Private sector stakeholders joined
the coastal zone management authority in the discussion about protection and conservation of the coastal zone.
Arturo Vasquez - CEO Port of Belize Limited
"As development continues, the port will always be mindful of it's ongoing development plans and will continue to maintain a responsible approach to
development by striking a balance between development and conservation. There is currently a development plan in the making that will certainly
encompass significant dredging, coastal improvements as well as in land clearing and filling. The fact that existing port operating continue to have an
impact on the costal environment, the port will always take measures to minimise this impact by using regional and international best practices."
Vista Real Estate is also adopting best practices to ensure that their housing activities don't cause harm to the coast.
"What we do as our part, everything from small efforts to minimise our carbon footprint such as ensuring efficient use of fuel when travelling with our
clients or without. And also ensuring that we recycle all plastics we use, especially bottles of water. In a grander scale, is being how development we
encourage could impact the environment and local economies and communities."
While those presentations focused on the broader business perspective, general manager of Eco Friendly Solutions Limited, discussed the impact humans have
on the coast and how the products and services they provide will significantly reduce the negative impact.
Luis Garcia - General Manager Eco Friendly Solutions Limited
"One of the things in the solid waste issue is, I been working with rural communities, up in the Guatemala area and even in Belize, it was, how can we
convince people to change their practices. We looked at how we protect the rivers, how we decrease deforestation and how can we convince these people
to change their lively hoods while they need to live today. And when you tell people don't cut the tree, they go, "How will I feed my family?". So if
there are no alternatives, how do we move forward."
According to vice president of Oceana, Janelle Chanona, this discussion is definitely a move in the right direction
Janelle Chanona, VP - OCEANA Belize
"Certainly I think the first three letters of economy, eco is something that Belize has had a proud history with. We coined eco-tourism, we set the
brand for it and that is certainly the only direction to be following. We need to make sure that our ecosystem remain healthy, remain abundant because
that is the reason why tourists are coming to Belize, that's the reason why investors come to Belize. And you only have to look at the images they
associate with what they are selling to people. They're showing white sandy beaches, clear waters, abundant wild life. They're not showing oil on the
beach, they're not showing decimated forest, they're not showing struggling natural assets. So that's certainly why we support these types of
conversations because certainly as a Belizean I want to make sure that the quality of life we enjoy today are part of our future.”
5 panelists presented today. Coastal Zone Awareness Week ends on Friday.