Health of New River improves


On Tuesday November 5, the Department of the Environment (DOE) announced that the health of the New River had significantly improved. Via a press release the organization says that, “the general condition of the river has improved over the past weeks.”
In late July, as a consequence of the severe drought that was being experienced in the Northern Part of the country there were massive fish kills all along the New River. The conditions had deteriorated significantly as a result of lack of water flow in the river causing wildlife, even apex predators like crocodiles, to die. This was as a result of eutrophication in the river causing an abnormal growth of algae in the river depriving it of oxygen. The conditions worsened as time passed causing a putrid odor to permeate in Orange Walk Town and surrounding villages. At least one school had to discontinue classes for a couple of days while the stench subsided.
As a result of public outcry, the DOE sprung to action monitoring the water quality in the river as well as installing airators to try to reintroduce oxygen into the river. The DOE say that the health of the river is improving and says that the reason is as a result of the remedial actions they have taken as well as a result of inspection of local industries to monitor discharge of wastewater into the river. Finally, it says that the river has been recharged as a result of rainfall in central and northern Belize.
The DOE says that, “since the start of October 2019, monitoring of the readings of the hydrogen sulphide stations along the New River has not indicated any presence of the gas, and therefore, the malodour has not affected the area recently.” It notes that it will continued to monitor the river and will modify their activities based on any information gathered. It concludes that, “In accordance with its medium- and long-term plans, the DOE along with the New River Task Force will continue to meet regularly to continue to implement the medium-term activities that will greatly assist in the preparation and implementation of the New River Watershed Management Plan (long-term plan).”
The public is advised to contact the DOE to report any abnormal observations on the New River.