The Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI) along with Belize Water Services (BWS) are discussing how to identify and quantify marine litter. This will be done using a standard methodology, which was adopted from the Litter Sampling in the Environment Field Guide for Citizen Scientist. Victor Sho, the Sport Fishing Coordinator for the CZMAI explained the importance of having a standard.
Victor Sho – Sport Fishing Coordinator, CZMAI: We need a standard to see how much pieces we have per meter sq. This is key because then we would know how much trash is being produced in Belize or rather is ending up on the Belize coast. Another key idea behind this is that we would also be able to identify where the trash is coming from through the sampling. Is it coming from local and based Belizeans or is it coming from some transboundary distal source that we have yet to engage because then no matter how much we clean up if all the trash is coming from outside we won’t be able to tackle the problem unless we work with the producers of this litter. Likewise we would like to know where are our trash is going? Is the trash we produce and that escapes to our coast impacting another country? Is another country suffering because of our proper solid waste management.
Johnelle Mckenzie: So you are saying this particular sample will allow you to do that?
Victor Sho – Sport Fishing Coordinator, CZMAI:Yes it would and this would be because we are not only doing a sample of items per meter sq. but we are also teaching the guys how to do biotic interaction analysis with the sample so they will be able to check the different trash for teeth marks, for bite marks, for algae growth, for barnacle growth, for evidence that it has been in the Marine Environment for an extended period of time and it will also teach those guys key drivers like tidal movements and wind currents. We will also teach them about how exactly the reef to reef concept works by bringing trash from all the way up into the over heads that has been released by some community or shelters up there and how it comes down and how it affects our coast.
Sheryl Terry, the Human Resources and Public Relations Assistant Manager for BWS told Love News that BWS was happy to partner with the CZMAI since the initiative falls within two of BWS’ strategic objectives which are to improve environmental sustainability and improve stakeholder relationships.