This National Plan of Action, based on the Global Program of Action to protect the marine environment from land-based activities, is developed through a collaborative and participatory approach between government agencies, local institutions and private sector in partnership with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)-GPA Program Office. It sets out in detail the hydrological conditions of Belize, institutional and legal framework, biodiversity and other elements of importance to implementation of the NPA. The main body of the NPA identifies sources of point and non-point pollution of waters that impact also on marine pollution and specifies objectives and actions in respect to these sources in order of priority: sewage, nutrients (principally caused by agriculture and aquaculture), physical alteration & destruction of habitat (principally caused by urbanization & development, deforestation, agriculture & aquaculture), solid waste management. It also provides for a financing strategy for the implementation.Priority actions in respect of sewage include assessment of the present facilities (as regards water quality monitoring, the integrity of the facilities and their ability to increase capacity) and to provide waste water treatment facility for coastal residential communities. Priority actions in nutrients control are establishing a national water quality monitoring network to measure nutrient loads in rivers, lagoons and coastal areas to reduce nutrient pollution, and identification and implementation of best management practices (BMPs) from agricultural and aquaculture systems. As to protection of the coastal zone ecosystem, a Land Use Plan, zone schemes for urban areas, zoning schemes for tourism development along the coastal areas shall be developed and implemented. Also, a Coastal Development Policy shall be prepared and existing legislation updated. The Belize NPA process has produced a prioritized list of actions to implement, including cost estimates, in order to protect the coastal and marine environment from land-based sources of pollution. These actions will include expenses such as cost for institutional arrangements, capacity increases, undertaking research and analytical work, monitoring and enforcement activities, technical assistance, project preparation, design and project implementation activities as well as other supporting activities. Activities within the NPA should implement cost effective, best affordable options and consider how the use of different technologies can affect costs.
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