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CZMAI and conservation groups conclude first Marine Litter Campaign in Belize

The Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute (CZMAI), Oceana Belize and the World Wildlife Fund have concluded a national Marine Litter Campaign. It is the first of its kind to be held in Belize and it came to fruition after some of the staff at the CZMAI attended a workshop in Jamaica. The CZMAI’s Sport Fishing Coordinator, Victor Sho told us more about the campaign that was carried out in May and June.

Victor Sho, Sport Fishing Corrdinator, CZMAI: “The ideology behind the workshop was to increase the capacity of those attendees in terms of the London protocol, the London Convention and also to highlight the need to start to address the marine litter issue within the Caribbean region because it being a global problem is not starting to affect the smaller countries like ours which are directly beside the ocean. Early 2018 we were then invited to a second workshop and this workshop now was focused more on teaching the participants once again hot to develop and implement an education outreach campaign for their home countries as it relates to marine litter. From our study so far it shows that Belize isn’t really one of the high end when it comes to marine litter but we are not the lowest either, I think we are somewhere at the lower mid point in terms of our litter. Now if you’d ask me for a figure it would be somewhere around 8 marine litter items per meter squared on our beach. We do want to see the overall number reduced but before we could say that we are seeing a reduction we’d first need to know where we stand and that is pretty much the ideology behind this campaign is that we needed to fill those data caps to see where we are how we could move from there. So in the future we do see ourselves implementing a similar marine litter study to see if what we are doing had an effect, to see if the message is getting out and Belizeans are starting to be more cognizant of the dangers of the throw away lifestyle. This also works hand in hand with other projects that are not led by Coastal Zone but other entities are imposing. We do know that there are a slew of other activists within different communities who have taken on such a problem and who are working towards trying to do a cultural change. In this campaign we can say that our partner were Oceana and WWF and they were very supporting and the staff were very knowledgeable of the process they wanted to see a change and we hope that this being the first one, we do have more in the future and we also get more organizations in and they could help champion this cause.”

During the campaign, the CZMAI and Oceana Belize visited 14 schools in coastal communities in Corozal Town, Sarteneja Village, Belize City, San Pedro, Dangriga, Hopkins, Seine Bight, Placencia and Punta Gorda.