For the past months, dredging for sand has been taking place in southern Ambergris Caye under the approval of The San Pedro Town Council (SPTC). According to Mayor Daniel Guerrero, the sand is not for business purposes, but for the benefit of the community. It will be used in the cemetery, parks, schools, and in a beach reclamation project on the eastern coast of town. However, an apparent oil slick is raising concerns on the environmental impact the dredging has on the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.
Guerrero said that it is possible that there could be a small oil slick in the area, but they will look into the matter. He then veered his attention into the purpose of the dredging, and indicated that all schools on the island will benefit with some sand, particularly those that are affected during the rainy season. “The sand will not only make these schools more accessible for students when it rains, but we hope that it also helps in alleviating the situation with the mosquitos,” said Guerrero. “There are people who may criticize the dredging, but we need sand for our cemetery, parks, schools and our beaches.”
However, residents living near the dredging area continue to report a slight sheen on top of the nearby waters, giving the impression that it is oil or gas. It is believed that it may be coming from the machinery doing the dredging. Dredging is expected to continue for the rest of the year. It is expected that by enhancing the public areas such as parks and beaches, it will add to the beautification of the island.
When asked about the promised dredging to take place at the Sunset Boardwalk, the Mayor indicated that they are still finalizing the final details, and there is no set date to begin.
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