There has been a lot of talk over time about the effects of offshore drilling on Belize’s coast and whether or not it should be done here. Those for offshore drilling, tend to think more of the immediate benefits to the country’s economy. However, the downfall offshore drilling can eventually impose on Belize’s ecosystem and economy would be devastating and almost impossible to recover from.
Belize’s economy is driven mainly by tourism. Offshore drilling be allowed on the reef and an oil spill occurs, the entire reef, including all the marine life and famous sites like the Blue Hole, would be destroyed. Oceans absorb about one third the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that already gets dumped into the ocean via improper waste disposal and land drainage. This carbon dioxide changes the oceans’ chemistry making it more acidic, degrading the coral reef.
According to waterencyclopedia.com, approximately 706 million gallons of waste oil enters the ocean every year. This waste oil causes mass mortality and contamination to fish and other marine life used for food.
It is our duty to help protect our reef and maintain its health so the natural wonders of Belize can be enjoyed for many more years to come. Here are some ways you can help preserve Belize’s coast.
1. Eat sustainable seafood
Eating sustainable seafood is essential to maintaining high quality seafood on the market. This means, eat seafood only when it is in season. If you go to a restaurant or store and see them selling sea foods that are out of season or too small to be harvested, report it to the local fisheries department so they can investigate and ensure these establishments are performing up to code.
2. Conserve energy
Burning fossil fuels for energy emits carbon dioxide that makes the ocean more acidic. Higher acidity in the ocean will cause the corals in the reef to deteriorate and eventually die out. You can help conserve energy and reduce waste by switching to high efficiency appliances, using fluorescent light bulbs, and turning off appliances when they’re not in use.
3. Swap disposables for re-usables
Disposable plastic utensil are often thrown into the ocean and eaten by birds and fish. This plastic chokes the animals and causes blockage in their digestive system resulting in starvation and eventually death. Instead of using disposable plastics that don’t get disposed properly, opt for reusable water bottles and plates. When shopping take along your own cloth grocery bag instead of getting plastic bags for your groceries.
4. Pick up trash on or near the beach
Many times after the crowds clear the beaches, there’s a heap of empty wrappers, cans and bags left blowing about. When going to the beach, always pack extra trash bags and collect all your garbage and properly dispose of them when you leave.
5. Tell a friend
The only way people are going to know how harmful their bad habits are to the environment is if they’re educated about it. Tell your friends about the importance of the reef to Belize, and how they can help preserve Belize’s ocean!