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Port Of Honduras #420113
10/28/11 07:25 AM
10/28/11 07:25 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 83,497
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
You may not have heard of the Gulf Of Honduras project but it's a tri-national plan between Belize, Guatemala and Honduras to protect the environment in the Gulf.

Now if that sounds remote, just think about the mountains of garbage and filth that wash up on the shore in Punta Gorda and Placencia from time to time.

Most of the garbage originates elsewhere, but pollution respects no border, so soon enough, everything that's over there will be over here.

Special correspondent Janelle Chanona found out how this project hopes to make that a thing of the past:

Omar Martinez, Facilitator, Gulf of Honduras Project
"We want to reverse the pollution in the whole area among Belize, Guatemala and Honduras."

According to coordinators, the Environmental Protection and Maritime Pollution Control Gulf of Honduras Project is designed to create regional environmental benefits through public education campaigns in Belize, Guatemala and Honduras as well as launching technical initiatives with the five ports operating in the Gulf of Honduras. And the regional ports are starting with themselves, implementing best management practices to reduce solid waste, water and air pollution at their facilities.

Gustavo Carrillo, Manager, Big Creek Port
"We have done everything to make sure that we have all the implementation in place to reduce any environmental accidents or hazards and that raise the environmental consciousness of all the employees within the port/ Even the stevedores, we have had trainings and sessions with them trying to educate them into why we do certain things so that it's easier to have a smoother operation."

Rainaldo Guerrero, Manager, Port of Belize
"In spite of major efforts being made we still have not gotten the full buy-in from our people - just to reduce the level of contaminants in there and even if I reduce all of the contaminants that leak into the port from my equipment I still would have no control on the contaminants that comes in from customers, these huge trucks that come into the port. We get at least 100 of these big trucks every single day into the port and I cannot stop a truck from coming into the port that is leaking oil."

Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer, Department of Environment
"Anything that happens in the mountains ends up in the sea, in this case in our beloved Belize Barrier Reef but not only that, we have also marine related impacts, ship generated impacts is just one but marine related is many so those are two focus areas that the government of Belize is looking for to begin addressing more seriously between now and 5 - 10 years the whole issue of marine pollution."

According to Belize's Chief Environmental Officer, Martin Alegria, marine pollution includes invasive species like the lionfish, solid waste like plastics and other garbage, groundings and other physical damages to the reef and chemical runoffs from construction activities, industrial industries, agriculture and aquaculture operations as well as the dumping of sewage into the sea.

The Gulf of Honduras is not the first attempt to strengthen Belize's institutional and legal foundation to protect and sustainably manage Belize's marine resources. The Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute has recently been resurrected with fresh finances and the Meso American Barrier Reef System initiative is still technically on-going but even Alegria admits much more needs to be done.

Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer, Department of Environment
"We should never be comfortable. We know we can do better, but…."

Janelle Chanona
"This is a billion dollar resource."

Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer, Department of Environment
"Not because these plans have not been implemented or initiatives haven't started or strengthening doesn't mean that we haven't been doing something - we have and one of the major mechanisms we used is the EIA process in new developments coming in including agricultural projects, tourism related and so on. We address the whole issue of prevention of any pollution going into our streams and rivers and eventually into the sea. And if it on a coastal even more so prevention from coast."

Janelle Chanona
"But do we have the capacity/resources to monitor all those projects and ensure nothing bad is happening?"

Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer, Department of Environment
"I'd be the first one to say that we don't have all the resources, hence the reason why as we moved on we try to institute mechanisms. The first step is what we called voluntary compliance place into the environmental compliance plan - the contract between us and the developers/investors. So that's the line of contribution from them."

The second line of defence is of course enforcement and fines and fees but port manager Rainaldo Guerrero says his initial findings reveal that the catalyst for change must come from the individual.

Rainaldo Guerrero
"For me it is not so much enforcement, it is more working towards creating that culture change through a different set of values. More and more we are becoming environmentally conscious and more and more we are seeing our individual role as a part of that process and while there is legislation, I don't believe very much in legislation except in specific cases and I believe more in creating a sense of values in people who want to do it rather than have to do it."

Martin Alegria
"If the general public does not demand let's say a specific sector to get more environmentally conscious it become difficult because you as consumer for example will be buying the cheapest and the cheapest might mean the ones that are producing with the most environmental degradation or impact, so it's a culture change from the people who are consuming it. The product that is produce is the key, that's not overnight - that takes time."

But as Belizeans discovered in August 2010, marine pollution can impact our economic and cultural reality overnight. Reporting for 7News I am Janelle Chanona.

Notably absent today was Ports Commissioner, John Flowers who was listed as a presenter but did not show. The Gulf of Honduras project is a five year project, bolstered by more than five million US dollars in funding provided by the Global Environment Facility.

Channel 7

Re: Port Of Honduras [Re: Marty] #420133
10/28/11 08:30 AM
10/28/11 08:30 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 83,497
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Gulf of Honduras Project Environmental Awareness

The Gulf of Honduras Project; not much is known about it, but it is an initiative that involves three countries that share marine ecosystems. Its goal is to reverse the degradation in the Gulf of Honduras through a coordinated plan of action that involves a range of components. You have heard about it on the airwaves in the past weeks, and this morning at a press conference, environmentalists discussed the plans to stop the pollution. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

There are unlimited marine wonders in the Gulf of Honduras, which is an area of the Caribbean Sea along the coasts of Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. But among the three countries, there are five operating ports and the transport of cargo contributes greatly to maritime pollution. The Gulf of Honduras Project, seeks to undo the damage that has been done and prevent further pollution.

Edas Munoz Galean

Edas Munoz Galeano, Project Director, Gulf of Honduras Project

“The Gulf of Honduras Project is a regional initiative. It is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). It is administered by the Inter-American Development Bank and the main executor of this project is the Central American Maritime Transport Commission which is called COCATRAM and co-executed also by CCAD, the environmental direction of the entire region. The ultimate goal of this project is to contribute to diminish the pollution situation of the Gulf of Honduras and also to give the countries technical and scientific information for them to take best decisions regarding the environmental management and also, we are trying to give to the countries, which we call the strategic action plan.”

Mario Gongora

Mario Gongora, External Consultant, Gulf of Honduras Project

“The long term objective of the strategic action plan is to promote the Gulf of Honduras social and economic development in order to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants through the restoration and preservation of the marine coastal ecosystems, the conservation of its biodiversity and the sustainable and use of its natural resources.”

Also involved in the project, are the ports operating in the city and Big Creek, which have both established environmental units.

Raineldo Guerrero, Chief Executive Officer, Port of Belize

Raineldo Guerrero

“As a part of the project, we developed a vision statement specifically for the environmental unit: “the Port will promote, execute and maintain environmental protection activities that will work in conjunction with the Port’s primary functions to improve and increase its image, competitiveness and profitability.” Some of the environmental elements within the project, which are the solid waste management, water management, air quality management, hazardous material management, soil quality management and then the introduction of some best management practices.”

Gustavo Carillo

Gustavo Carillo, Manager, Port of Big Creek

“Most of our exports go through the Port of Big Creek and because of that situation we have had an environmental management team from the inception of the Port. They originate basically from the fields where the produce is grown, all the way to the Port. So the Port of Big Creek has been very environmentally conscious in that respect due to the type and the nature of the cargo we ship through the Port.”

But Chief environmental officer, Martin Alegria, explains that in Belize, the sources of marine pollution are not only from cargo ships.

Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer

Martin Alegria

“Ongoing initiatives in Belize in terms of the main focus of the Gulf of Honduras Project is the main issue of marine pollution. It can be like I said earlier, land base sources; anything that happens in the mountains ends up in the sea. In this case, our beloved Belize barrier reef. But not only that, we have marine related impacts. Ship generated impacts is just one, marine related is many. So those are two focus areas that the government of Belize is looking for to begin addressing more seriously beginning now and for the next five to ten years; the whole issue of marine pollution and prevention thereof.”

According to Project Director, Edas Munoz Galeano, it is a multi-million dollar project, but the environmental benefits are worth every penny.

Edas Munoz Galeano

“The amount of the project is about seven point two million dollars. Four point two million dollars comes from GEF and the rest of it through the contribution of the benefitting countries; Belize, Guatemala, Honduras. The contributions are made in kind or could be also through direct investment done by each country.”

Two ports in Guatemala and one in Honduras are also involved in the initiative. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

After the project concludes next June, COCATRAM will continue to follow up on the initiatives and work along with Belize, Guatemala and Honduras to keep maritime pollution at a minimum.

Channel 5

Re: Port Of Honduras [Re: Marty] #421640
11/10/11 11:17 PM
11/10/11 11:17 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 83,497
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Gulf of Honduras to eliminate pollution

You heard about the Gulf of Honduras Project back in October when directors announced that they were pressing full speed ahead to stop pollution in the gulf that is shared by Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. As a follow up, a workshop was held today to discuss an environmental analysis and the strategic plan of action, which are two major components of the multi-million dollar project. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

What do Belize, Guatemala and Honduras have in common? The Gulf of Honduras and a shared mission to eliminate pollution and maritime damage in that area of the Caribbean Sea. Today a workshop was held by the Gulf of Honduras Project to discuss two important aspects of the initiative.

Edas Munoz Galeano, Director, Gulf of Honduras Project

Edas Munoz Galeano

“What we are having today here is a workshop and we are going to discuss the environmental analysis assessment of the Gulf of Honduras, which is called the Environmental Diagnostic Analysis and this is the base for the strategic action plan for the Gulf of Honduras. These two documents are related with the aim to promote the economic development and the environmental sustainability of the Gulf of Honduras. That’s why we are consulting here with the different sectors of the Belizean society.”

Melvin Hulse, Minister of Ports

“It involves eighty percent of what we do. It involves shipping transportation and movement of cargo and running on the reef and things like that, garbage, putting in oils during travel. And so that is—as Minister of Ports, and being along with my counterparts that signed onto this thing with the global fund and directed by IDB for the Gulf of Honduras to try and make it a better, safer place; putting checks and balances, make sure we don’t mess up the environment there and put in those features that will help us make movements better and safer.”

Project Director, Edas Munoz Galeano says that there is room for improvement, but the implementation of the strategic action plan will tie up the loose ends.

Edas Munoz Galeano

“The strategic action plan is already complete. We have just started socializing it and we are trying to get the input from people in Belize, Guatemala and Honduras in order to finish the final draft of the SAP and then once it’s finished we are going to hand it over to the governments for them to get the political endorsement and hopefully in the future they will use this plan as a guide to make decisions for project development, strategy development or whatever they think is the most appropriate decisions for the area.”

Melvin Hulse

Minister of Ports, Melvin Hulse is pleased with the progress that Belize’s Ports have been making.

Melvin Hulse

“Port has really tightened up and we’re trying to create—we have a hydrographic board now. We have started to map all the seas, the floor beds of Belize and that will give us really new and improved navigational charts with the ultimate goal of eventually having highways both for local and international. We have increased all the communication facilities up in Baldy Beacon, twenty-four hours a day we monitor every ship that comes through our waters; watch them, monitor them, make them aware at sea. We have increased our navigational lights; they used to be three miles, I’ve done it to ten miles visibility. We are improving—we’re putting more buoys out there, we’re putting more and getting our towers to work better. What we bring in is to take us to another level because we’re going to get there. We don’t do anything that is totally going to be dependent: “bwai yoh come? Yeah bwai”. Everybody bright eyed, bushy tailed and then you go and the thing crash. That dah noh this.”

Both Hulse and Munoz agree that it takes a collaborated effort to sustain the development that has resulted from the Gulf of Honduras Project.

Melvin Hulse

“People involved with sea, whether it’s the cruise, locals taking around tourists and things like that, people who are fishing, people who are dealing with ships and the Port; we need to understand that we can make our business grow without messing up the place you know.”

Edas Munoz Galeano

“It’s important for the whole society to get more involved in these discussions because whatever we do or whatever is lacking to do it affects us as a whole. So we need to be proactive, we need to be involved, we need to be participating in these discussions in order to reflect in this document all our hopes and desires for the future.”

Delahnie Bain for News Five.

The project was launched in February 2006 with a five year time frame and a budget of seven point two million dollars.

Channel 5

Re: Port Of Honduras [Re: Marty] #464060
05/11/13 05:14 AM
05/11/13 05:14 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 83,497
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Monitoring Unit of Gulf of Honduras Project to reactivate key stakeholders network

The monitoring unit of the Gulf of Honduras Project is looking to reactivate their network in the region. The Gulf of Honduras project was set up few years ago in Belize, Honduras and Guatemala to look at potential threats on the marine life and ecosystem as a result of maritime activities in the five ports within the Gulf of Honduras. It also set up a stakeholder’s network for prevention and pollution control of marine environment arising from maritime transportation within the Gulf of Honduras. Coordinators for the monitoring unit were in Belize for the first national Committee Key Stakeholders Network of Belize meeting. It took place at the Belize Coastal Zone Management office in Belize City on Thursday May 2nd and had the attendance of various government agencies as well as representation from the two ports in Belize.

Otto Guillermo Noack, Executive Director for the Central American Commission for Maritime Transport (COCATRAM) said it is important to reactivate the stakeholder’s network so that Belize, like Guatemala and Honduras, can make good use of past research done as part of the Gulf of Honduras Project. “COCATRAM was the executing body of the Gulf of Honduras Project. What we are doing now is that we visited Belize to reactivate the stakeholder’s network that was used when the Gulf of Honduras project was active. When the funding for the project was exhausted, we wanted to find out what do we do with all the research, studies, the equipment and the work geared towards the protection of the environment and contamination control caused by maritime transportation the Gulf of Honduras, where there are five big ports,” said Noack. He added, “The challenge now is for us to have continuity in the use of the material. As an initiative of COCATRAM, we are creating a follow-up/tracking unit to the Gulf of Honduras Project which will be spearheaded by Norma Reyes. Reyes, we believe, has more knowledge of the project since she has been with the project since its inception. As part of the work to re-activate the Key Stakeholders Network, we visited Belize to get the stakeholders in Belize onboard with such initiative.”

According to Reyes, the network’s main area of concern is to acknowledge the current situation of the countries with regards to prevention, contingency planning and response capacity in order to contribute to improving protection and control measures of the pollution of the marine environment arising from maritime transport and port operations in the Gulf of Honduras.

The meeting had the participation of government’s Chief Environmentalist Martin Alegria. The five ports in the Gulf of Honduras are Belize City Port, Big Creek both in Belize; Santo Tomas de Castilla Port and Puerto Barrios in Guatemala and Puerto Cortes in Honduras.

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