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The Association of Professional Engineers of Belize Writes GOB Over Concerns of POB’s Expansion

We are now shifting gears to the environment. The Association of Professional Engineers of Belize (APEB) has written to the government, voicing concerns on the proposed Port of Belize Expansion project. In the letter, the APEB shares with CEO in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management Dr. Kenrick Williams five areas of concern. One of them is that the design of, and materials used in, the nearshore disposal area for the dredging spoils are inadequate. The APEB is also concerned about the disposal area as proposed in the Port of Belize’s addendum. The APEB says this would allow for high concentrations of contaminants to leach into the surrounding environment. President Ramy Chia says that activities might also lead to further erosion in the south.

Ramy Chia, President, APEB: “What we’re looking for or what we would like is that responsible development takes place and that this can only happen on a well thought out pathway for the country’s development of course. We do not support any haphazard or ad hoc development and we believe that more policies and frameworks need to be put in place and these need to be adhered to for this development as we feel the five points are very important. I would have to say that the way that the sediment is being treated I believe that more care needs to be take in that. We need to ensure that we’re leaving the sediments to drain out so to speak and ensure that the contaminants settle before disposing or moving this material to other locations. Also of concern is the fact that the south is already having severe erosion problems I think that is a great concern and these port expansions will only add to that.”

Chia says that the concerns identified must be appropriately addressed to minimize negative consequences and developmental regrets as the effects of these projects are often irreversible.

Ramy Chia, President, APEB: “As an association of professional engineers we believe that it is our responsibility to ensure that the country is practicing best engineering practices and with our association we have different fields of engineering: coastal engineering, environmental engineering that we feel that we can assist the government to look at where the – I won’t say defects because they’re not really defects it may just be things that are being overlooked or the people that are looking at aren’t looking with the same eyes that professional engineers may look at them. I would like that the powers that be listen and try to at least cover as much as what can be covered and ensure the most sustainable development possible for our country. I mean this is for our kids and our grandkids what we leave behind. We did not inherit this from our ancestors we are borrowing it from our kids.”

A public consultation on the Port of Belize Expansion Project is underway this evening. We will have highlights from it in the news tomorrow.