Tampa, Florida- A University of South Florida associate professor and one of her students have helped design a waste management system at Laughing Bird Caye National Park, which may ultimately help protect Belize’s Barrier Reef.
The student in question, Christine Prouty, together with Dr. Maya Trotz recently told an audience at the Sulphur Springs Museum and Heritage Center about their work. Their presentation at the museum was held in connection with the museum’s exhibit on the Caribbean’s reefs and sharks.
Nearly 100 tourists a day currently visit the park while snorkeling and scuba diving the Belize Barrier Reef. According to Prouty and Trotz, the park’s restroom facilities were connected to an inadequate septic system, bringing about the danger that septic tank runoff would escape into seawater and potentially destroy coral reefs. Spillage from sceptic tanks into the sea can result in an overgrowth of algae, which on their turn play a role in the destruction of the sensitive coral reefs.
This issue was discovered in 2014 by Trotz and Prouty, who were doing work in Placencia at the time for research on how coastal communities can best benefit from the use of wastewater. The duo from the University of South Florida worked together with the Southern Environmental Association and Eco-Friendly Solutions in designing and funding a new sceptic system, which was installed on the Laughing Caye earlier this month.
The expansion and improvement of the sceptic system is important as the park plans to draw more tourists to the park.
The exhibit on Caribbean Reefs and Sharks can be visited through August 31, 2017.