Ecological Groups Ask Belize Stop Underwater Oil Exploration

Ecological Groups Ask Belize Stop Underwater Oil Exploration        Belmopan, Jun 1. -Several Belize organizations have demanded the government to stop oil exploration in national waters for the potential danger it entails to its coral reef, the world''s second largest.

Groups such as Healthy Reef, the Association of Administrative Organizations of Protected Areas and Citizens sent a letter to Prime Minister Dean Barrow rejecting exploration and extraction along the countryâ�Ös coasts.

The activists maintain the underwater oil extraction also threatens coastal populations and fishing industries and tourism, the main supplier of foreign currency for the local economy.

They also insist that this work could cause ecological disasters like in the Gulf of Mexico in which millions of barrels of crude spill out to the surface after an explosion and collapse of the Deepwater Horizon rig.

The concern of these organizations corresponds to increased concession granted to foreign companies for oil extraction in protected areas such as the great coral reef that was declared Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2004.

Now there are 17 companies from different countries exploring about 13,000 square kilometers of Belize land and sea in an area where it is believed there is a strong potential for oil.

However, the prime ministers publicly declared that he will not suspend perforation of oil in the ocean. (Prensa Latina)