Illegal canals dug on Santander properties
In the center of the country we have a foreign owned (Spain and Guatemala) company called Santander. They acquired a large parcel of land and are clearing it and planting with sugar cane. They have dug numerous illegal canals draining these fields directly into our precious waterways.
On the left, a canal from the fields into Labouring Creek and an earthen dam across the creek (seen in the lower left of photo).
In center is a long canal dug to the Belize River, you can see a thick brown sludge being dumped directly into the river, water many Beluzeans drink.
On the right (at the bottom of the photo) a canal dug to the environmentally sensitive Freshwater Creek, directly into a lagoon of the creek called Whitewater Lagoon; the crystal clear water and abundant aquatic life there was documented in the 1990's by Carol and Richard Foster.
Where are our regulatory and enforcement agencies? $100k fine is a slap on the wrist, a tax Santander is willing to pay, but where is the mitigation - the removal and restoration of the damage they are causing?
Photographs by Tony Rath
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