Belize’s Barrier Reef In Danger

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Updated: October 2, 2015

An online publication has stated that Belize’s Barrier Reef is in danger of being destroyed due to the extraction of resources.  The article did not focus on only Belize’s Reef but rather on all World Heritage Sites which it says are being threatened through mining and oil exploration.  It went on to state that, quote, “companies and investors face reputational and legal risks by backing such activities.  As many as 70 out of the 229 natural World Heritage sites are at risk from extractive industries, the research from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and asset managers Aviva Investors and Investec showed on Thursday.  That includes most of Africa’s 41 natural heritage sites, designated by UNESCO as areas that have outstanding natural beauty or have ecological significance.  The report aims to encourage investors to use their influence to stop companies from exploiting the sites.”  End of quote.  According to the Chief Executive of the WWF, protecting these iconic places is not only important in terms of their environmental worth, it is crucial for the livelihoods and future of the people who depend on them.  Areas listed as under threat from resource extraction activities include Spain’s Donana (Donyana) National Park, the Selous Game Reserve in Africa and the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System in North America.  The Donana National Park was already affected by a toxic waste spill in 1998, when acid waste was released into the Guadiamar River after a dam failed.  A dead fish lied by the Guadiamar river after a huge toxic waste spill in 1998, in southern Spain, seeped into ground water under Donana Park, one of Europe’s wildlife reserves.  The Selous Game Reserve was added to the World Heritage Danger List in 2014 in part due to concerns regarding extractive activities within the reserve, the WWF report says.  The reserve is home to some of Africa’s best known animals, and is already affected by poaching.  The WWF said its estimate of the sites at risk was probably conservative.  There are 1,031 World Heritage sites across 163 states, most of them selected for cultural significance.