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How to handle an oil spill Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 07 September 2017 00:00

The threat of an oil spill can almost permanently damage lives and environment as well as having unconstructive effects on the economy and society of any country. On Belize, those effects would be felt even twice fold considering out geography and demography. As responsible stewards of the environment, it is essential to maintain vigilance in the case of such an emergency.

Effective planning and response requires the cooperation of relevant agencies that can ensure proper risk management as it pertains to looking after Belize’s terrestrial and marine environments. In an effort to strengthen Belize’s response capabilities, representatives from various ministries, departments, private sectors, civil and academic society and NGOs met on September 5th to 7th, 2017 at the Radisson Fort George Hotel.

The meeting, which was spearheaded by the Department of the Environment, was to update Belize’s National Oil Spill Contingency Plan with the input and skills of all agencies. The objectives were to keep stakeholders and the public informed and to bring together the consultancy teams from Polaris Applied Sciences Inc. with key national technical experts and organizations, particularly to initiate the data collection and consultation process. POLARIS’ scientific support staff for oil spill response includes internationally recognized leaders in oil spill contingency planning, technical training of spill responders, shoreline treatment operations, shoreline geomorphology, and environmental impact assessment.

This six month consultancy is fully sponsored by the Environmental Management Fund of the Ministry of Environment and aims to strengthen the prevention, preparedness, and coordinated emergency response in the event of an oil spill in the terrestrial, aquatic and marine environment.  The update contributes to the commitments made by the Department of the Environment to protect our environment, control pollution, and managing response to disaster. It is also consistent with the Government of Belize’s commitment to ensure the safety and security of Belizeans, their environment and livelihoods.