Tonight, hundreds of dead fish are floating along the banks of the New River. It’s a peculiar situation that has been happening for years now.  The dead fish can be sited from the area of the BSI factory all the way up to the Toll Bridge. Residents living along these areas say the stench is unbearable but mostly importantly they fear for their health. From what we able to perceive, industrial pollution seems to be killing fish and nauseating residents. Today our news team visited the area to find out how severe the fish kill is and we even found a dead crocodile.

Screen_shot_2013-04-12_at_6.27.01_PMHipolito Novelo - Reporting

Tonight hundreds of dead fish decorate the banks of the New River that runs along Orange Walk Town.

This has been the scenario for the past week and according to families residing along the river banks each year around this time there is a strong scent from the river.

Voice of Concerned Resident

“We local fish like Crana’s, the Chack Pintas, we got Base Snooch’s, Mud fish, we see the Blue Cat Fish and we have turtles.  We have tourists on a daily basis on the river back and forth and they are seeing the same thing and they smell the river all bad and they want to know why the fish is floating up.”

The stench is unbearable and it stretches for about 6 to 7 miles from the Belize Sugar Industries Limited up to Tower Hill.  During our coverage, our camera even captured a dead crocodile among the dead fish. It seems that whatever is killing the fish is also affecting the habitat of other animals including birds, iguanas and this spider monkey.

Voice of Concerned Resident

“We noticed that the same birds that feed off the same fish, all birds are dying out and crocodiles, iguanas are dying, so we really want to know what the cause is.”

But what truly concerns residents living in the area, is the effect that the stench might have on their health.

Voice of Concerned Resident

“We got our same local people that goes around the river bank and inhaled it and they swim and they eat the same fish that is contaminated so we really want to make somebody do something about this.  I live around the river bank for the past 20 years and I have seen this happen at lest for the past 15 years like every year.”

Voice of Concerned Resident

“Right now we have a little north that is blowing in and couple days ago and we noticed that is was coming from the north and is floating out south.”

Hipolito Novelo – Reporter

“In your opinion, the amount of fishes can you say hundreds, hundreds or thousands, thousands?”

Voice of Concerned Resident

“Well, I could say thousands of fishes that are floating up and died what a shame and in different sizes from the small to the biggest ones for the past five days now.”

So what exactly is killing the fish? Residents have their own theory.

Voice of Concerned Resident

“I more believe that the same sugar cane factory, BSI, is the one responsible for all the fish, turtles, crocodiles, and birds that feeds off it and we the people that lives around the river, that them responsible for all the itch and rash, diarrhoea and vomiting.”

Hipolito Novelo – Reporter

“Is it the chemical waste that is being thrown into the river?’

Voice of Concerned Resident

“I believe so and I believe that it is from the same BSI factory.  Went down the river to view something and around the factory up down the river and we find out where the waste is coming out from and you can see it for your own self where all that waste if coming from and to where we saw the fish, so it is the only place we can point.  All the furthest that we can see is way to Shipyard and it is at least about 15 miles from here so imagine 15 miles of fish, turtle, crocodiles and even the people who live along we are getting affected by BSI.”

Families living along the affected areas are calling on the proper authorities to investigate the matter.

Voice of Concerned Resident

“Public health supposed to come out and we need Port Authority to come out and check all of these things here too, even BSI and the government should try to help us because if this keeps on going we will lose everything and we will lose our tourism too and myself as a tour guide, what a shame to have my own guest.”

When we contacted the Public Health Department in Orange Walk today, Public Health Officer Karol Heredia told us they were not aware of the situation which will now be investigated.

This evening we got in contact with Factory Manager of BSI John Gillette who assured us that what is causing the fish to die has nothing to do with BSI. In fact, Gillette told us that a water analysis has been conducted and that the contaminants are not being produced by the factory.

CTV3