For weeks, the New River which flows through the Orange Walk District has been the subject of intense concern. While there have been reports of pollution in past years, and even fish kills, residents say this is the worst it has ever been. Multiple fish, crocodile and even manatee kills have been reported recently, and despite the engagement of the Department of the Environment, general sentiment is that the problem is getting worse, and the DOE is being lax. Today, a foul stench hung over Orange Walk Town, so bad, we are told, that it has become a real concern for students of schools near the river. Our colleagues from CTV-3 spoke to Mayor Kevin Bernard this morning, and he told them that all the talking has gotten residents nowhere, and it is time for real action to save the river.
According to Bernard, the consultation hosted by the Department of the Environment recently left residents with more questions than answers. The Mayor pulled no punches as he called on the DOE to do much more than is being done.
Bernard said that in the short term, he and the Mayor from Corozal will be meeting with officials from Mexico to see if they can assist with an independent test, with a view to finding a definitive solution to the problem posed by the contamination of the New River. In the even shorter term, the Council will be providing masks to students of the La Inmaculada RC School, to address what has become a health concern, as much as an environmental one.
As we told you earlier, classes at La Inmculada have been cancelled, at least until Monday.