If you have taken a stroll on the beach lately you have definitely noticed the
new trees planted on the shoreline. Another visible island improvement is the
clean-up of the San Pedrito Area. Many might be asking themselves who is doing
this and why. Well underway, these are the positive effects of the Environmental
Restoration Project, a one million dollar contract funded by the Inter-American
Development Bank for the re-beautification and re-vegetation of San Pedro due to
the ravages of Hurricane Keith. The contract, signed on June 11th, 2001, slated an estimated $650,000 for
San Pedro while the remainder was allotted to Caye Caulker. The consultants for
this project are WSP International who chose the local firm of Rojas, Schulz
& Nelder as service providers for this project.
is the Environmental Restoration Project? It is a project with four focal
points: a trash clean-up of the lagoon and San Pedrito areas; public park
landscaping; replanting of vegetation on the beaches and shoreline; and the creating of a resource
management center. The San Pedro Sun met with
Vicky Nelder of Rojas, Schulz & Nelder who explained the project involves a
group of 25 workers including engineers, landscaping architects and other
Ms. Nelder explained that
the trash clean-up includes the clearing of dead stumps and cutting of dead
mangroves to allow new ones to grow quicker. All waste products along the roads
will be disposed of and toxic material, including plastics have been cleared
from the mangroves on the lagoon side and San Pedrito areas. Unfortunately two
to three days after the clean-up, Ms. Nelder explained that these places had
been trashed again. She stated that for this campaign to be successful, all the
people of the island have to do their part and put litter in its proper place.
In hopes of discouraging people to litter, "no littering" signs will be placed
in these areas.
The project also intends to
rehabilitate the land by replanting more trees on the island. A total of 6000
trees will be replanted in public areas, the beach and shoreline. Some of these
will include coconut, almond, flamboyant and ciricote. Special plants and shrubs
such as morning glories and coco plum will be placed on the shoreline to prevent
erosion and serve as wind barriers. Plants will also be placed on the street
sides wherever possible to produce shade and beauty. Already 600 plants have
been placed in different areas of the island but once again the public is asked
to cooperate. Of the 600 plants, 40 have been destroyed and/or stolen. The
general public is informed that the police have been advised of this situation
and anyone found tampering with the plants will be prosecuted.
The public park landscaping project will concentrate on
the Boca del Rio Park. Amenities such as barbecues and picnic tables will be
added for families to enjoy. The small park at San Pablo will also be restored.
A drinking fountain will be built at Central Park, as well as landscaping of the
area. All other parks on the island will also be restored and/or improved.
The resource management center that is being created will
be used to recycle materials from the clean-up campaign to create compost. Ms.
Nelder explained that a wood chipper is being acquired so the trees and other
trash can be recycled to create a compost that, after four to five months, will
become black soil to be used in the planting process. A greenhouse will also be
created for new plants to be used in the replanting program. The resource
management center will also house an educational area for children to learn
about the importance of recycling. This will be located on a lot in the San
Marcos Area, which the Town Council has provided. Once this center is
established it is hoped that the town will continue this important system. "Do
not give a person a fish, teach them how to fish," stated Mrs. Nelder.
The resource management center's purpose is to educate
the community on the benefits of being environmentally responsible and caring.
All that is being asked of the community is they be open-minded to this
information that will bring about effective change to the island. The
Environmental Restoration Project invites everyone to become involved in their
activities, to cooperate with the rehabilitation and recycling program. Through
this program Mrs. Nelder and her team would like everyone to enjoy the benefits
of a cleaner, healthier and more beautiful San Pedro and asks the general public
to join them in their efforts. Let us all make it a point to do our part in
helping keeping our "Isla Bonita" clean.