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Good things come to those who wait, and who work tirelessly to preserve the wonderful life on this Earth. The people of Belize did both, and their efforts were recognized after nine years of working hard to help the largest barrier reef in the Northern Hemisphere, the Belize Barrier Reef.
The Belize Barrier Reef, home to the famed Great Blue Hole, was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage Danger List in 2009 due to mangrove and marine ecosystems being uncared for. In recent years, however, Belize has managed to ban off-shore oil exploration, strengthen forestry regulations, among other notable environmental efforts. The UNESCO Committee then saw it fit to remove the beloved barrier reef from the Danger List on June 26, 2018.
Needless to say not only Belize, but the world rejoiced when the news broke! Celebrities congratulated our tiny – yet influential – country for our determination in protecting what was ours. Highly-acclaimed news publications, such as The New York Times, said the celebration was a much-needed good news in the constant bleak news cycle these days.
Among prominent Belizeans, young and old, many organizations helped in the preservation of our lovely reef that is home to a plethora of marine life, like sea turtles, manta rays, sharks and many more. Organizations such as WWF and Oceana made sure to go full steam ahead in their endeavor to bring back the reef from the edge.
This win was no small task, and the fact that a country of only 367,000 people – with help from organizations – was able to accomplish such a large feat is something we will forever be proud of.