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WWF Honduras donates drone to UB to assist in Research

The Belize River watershed is one of the largest watersheds in Belize, measuring nine thousand, four hundred and thirty-two point two square kilometers. The Belize Water Services Limited accesses the Belize River watershed as well as other watersheds in order to provide that water you get to enjoy in your home. The University of Belize is tasked with managing the Belize River watershed. Today, the World Wildlife Fund Honduras handed over a drone valued at two thousand dollars that will be used to assist the University in conducting research on the Belize River watershed. At this morning’s handing over ceremony, the President of the University of Belize, Professor Clement Sankat, stressed the importance of water and how the generous donation will benefit the University.

Prof. Clement Sankat, President of the University of Belize

“Water is important for the sustenance of life. Water is important for both human consumption and animal consumption and this project is, therefore, a landmark project for Belize in that we are going to be mapping the Belize River Watershed and its quality. It’s absolutely important that we sustain the quality and quantity of our water through the Belize Watershed area. We, therefore, have to consider the impacts of our communities; we have to look at the impact of the outflow of our rivers onto the pristine coral reefs of Belize- if the water quality is unacceptable not only would it be injurious to human health as well as the marine life in the river but more and more it could also harm our reef, something that we all protect very dearly in Belize. So this work is absolutely vital from the perspective of the sociological impacts on communities living within the Belize River Watershed areas.”

Mauricio Mejia of WWF Honduras was happy to be handing over the drone for the continued work of the University of Belize.

Mauricio Mejia, WWF Honduras:

“In the past, the watershed used to be the water, the soil, the land, but now society is a key component of the watersheds anywhere in the world. If we don’t take into consideration the people no matter what we do to protect soil, species, and trees because it’s the people that we need to ensure the sustainability of their livelihoods in the long term. So this is why WWF is working not only in Belize but in the major watersheds in the world to protect them and ensure the sustainability because water is a major resource for the people on earth. The watershed management plan for the Belize River will be a model to replicate not only in Belize but in the rest of the region. So for us, it would be a pleasure to give this equipment to the University of Belize to get more reliable data and to be more effective in collecting data to better inform the people.”

Dr. Abel Carrias, Assistant Professor at the University of Belize, said that the occasion was really a milestone.

“Through partnerships such as this, we are gradually strengthening UB’s resolve moving forward in building a much-needed laboratory and human capacity for educating and for engaging in practical and impactful research that can contribute to national development. The drone, iPad, water quality reagents that we are receiving today are essential tools to complete studies required to inform the management plan for the Belize River. The immediate use of the drone will be to perform aerial surveys, to document and to assess the most current and critical threats posed to the watershed. The reagents will be used to test the quality of the water and to obtain baseline data which is critical in obtaining insights into the safety of the use of the water from the Belize River.”

According to Dr. Carrias, there are twelve major watersheds in Belize. Apart from BWS, the rural communities also access water from the Belize River watershed directly.