The Belize Barrier Reef is home to more than 1,400 species of marine life and serves as the country’s main tourist attraction. In an effort to preserve the reef, Belize has just taken a big step to protect the ocean waters from the effects of oil extraction and exploration by banning oil activities.
The reef was under threat from oil operations just last year but the government has heard the calls and protests of people who are concerned about the environment. Over 450,000 people joined together to put an end to oil operations and other harmful activities in the Barrier Reef.
The Belize Barrier Reef is one of the planet's most diverse ecosystems.
The reef is home to over 1,400 species including this endangered hawksbill turtle.
Unfortunately, the ecosystems have already been damaged by oil exploration and extraction.
This major law protecting the ocean waters from the damaging effects of oil activities is the first by a developing country, according to Ecowatch. In a statement, Mesoamerican reef scientist at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Nadia Bood described the success as “a great day for Belize.”
“Today is a great day for Belize.Not only has its government listened to calls to protect the Belize Barrier Reef, which only last year was under threat from seismic oil exploration, it has stepped up to become a world leader in ocean protection by ending all oil activity in its waters.”
The ban on oil activity in the waters is a great win for Belize.
Not only does it preserve the wonderful marine wildlife in the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, but people can also reap the benefits of having a healthy reef. Belize’s economy relies on tourism so the status of the reef will directly impact the future of the country. Tourism brings in between $182-$237 million annually. Fisheries and seashore tourism can support about 190,000 people.
Since 2009, the Belize Barrier Reef has been on UNESCO’s Danger List but this new law should hopefully remove the nation from the said list. Thanks to all the people coming together to offer this support, the Belize Barrier Reef should now be safe from the threats of oil extraction and exploration.
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