The World Heritage Centre is expressing concerns over the massive infrastructure development that is scheduled to take place near the South Water Caye Marine Reserve, a world heritage site. In the letter, the World Heritage Centre says that it has received information from various sources about new infrastructure developments in the immediate vicinity of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System. The Centre is concerns of the possible impact of these developments. The project is entitled “Cargo Extension and Construction of Cruise Terminal and Cruise Tourism Village of the Port of Belize” and the Centre has received reports that the development includes the dumping of five million cubic meters of dredged material at sea in the immediate proximity of the World Heritage area. Country Coordinator for Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Nicole Craig says that a group of environmental groups in Belize are also concerned.
Nicole Craig, Country Coordinator, Healthy Reefs for Healthy People: “There are several organization that have been writing very publicly about their disagreement with some of these actions and so Healthy Reefs is a signatory on many of those public letters and when it comes to how that plays into reef health especially with the audit it would still come under how we managed our coastal zone and so to reiterate I’m pretty sure everyone familiar with the concerns of specifically one project that was proposing ocean dumping and I think in general we take a step back to more understand that it’s a combined impact of several projects in such a large space. For me it’s personally hard and probably for many other Belizeans, hard to really see if cruise tourism will jump back to the point where can sustain all these ports but for arguments sake lets say it happens and if we fill these ships every day we also have to think about the environmental stress that will come from just the physical construction of the ports, the dredging, the construction, the noise pollution added to the extra traffic in the water, wildlife that can be hurt and then construction is complete and now we think about all the people that will be filling it up. Let’s say they fill it up all the people now in our reef, all the extra sewage, all the extra trash that’s going to generate so doing something like that on such a large scale has more than just the obvious impact that we think. We also have to think about the systems that support the tourism industry as well like our sewage management which was something that we flagged in the audit that we needed to address urgently for Belize because we noted that we haven’t really had any new infrastructure for sewage in the last ten years even though it’s something that I’m sure is recognized and we want to deal with it it hasn’t been done so a large influx of people we certainly need to upgrade our systems.”