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DOE Looking into the Health of the New River

The Department of Environment continues to monitor the health of the New River in Orange Walk Town. In July, a four-week consultative process commenced with various stakeholder groups that reside within the New River watershed. This consultation provided valuable insight into stakeholders’ views, concerns, and recommendations for consideration in developing a management plan to restore and conserve the New River watershed. This comes after critically stressed areas of the New River were identified. The effects are reportedly being caused by industrial, agricultural, and urban discharges. Last week, Orange Walk Central Area Representative, Prime Minister John Briceno, met with Orange Walk Mayor Ladrick Sheppard, the Orange Walk Police Formation, and officials from the Department of Environment to discuss the health of the river and the interventions to mitigate the impact of economic activity. Mayor Sheppard told Love News of the plan moving forward.

Ladrick Sheppard, Mayor, Orange Walk Town: “Quiet a productive meeting. What happened is we discussed some issues about the river and DOE decided that they were going to be placing two machines in the river so that they can probably find out exactly what’s happening in the river so that it doesn’t reach to that point that we cannot tell what’s going on before it’s too late. We know for a fact that we had to send especially the students from the La Inmaculada School home due to the stench of the river when it became in a bad condition and things like these we have to make sure we’re monitoring in an early stage. We also discussed of putting some catchment areas in Orange Walk Town so that we can probably pick up some the dirt and debris that is heading into the river but when we mentioned that we knew that we had to change some of the drainage system that we have. So there’s a collaboration with DOE and the Town Council to make sure that good things are happening for the town so that no dirt enters into the river.”

Reporter: In terms of that catchment areas idea how long will it take ? 

Ladrick Sheppard, Mayor, Orange Walk Town: “Well we know for a fact that the drainage system needed to be changed. They we asking if we can jump on it immediately so what we’re gonna do we’re gonna plan the drainage system but or now we’re going to be placing the catchment areas at the needed spots that are necessary for now and adapt a drainage system towards the catchment area so it’s a combination of our managers there at the Town Council to find  way to put this together and I think we have the capable team and members to do this so we’re gonna be finding a way to get it done.”

Reporter: What’s the investment in terms of monies it will cost ?

Ladrick Sheppard, Mayor, Orange Walk Town: “That’s the question. You know it’s a huge investment because we know for a fact that we had gone through a survey to see how many drainage systems needed to be changed to adapt to the water heading into the river approximately off the bat, just a random check it would probably cost you $100,000 to change all of these drainage systems to adapt to something heading towards the river. It’s a lot.”