BELIZE RIVER WATER QUALITY
A BASELINE CHEMICAL ASSESSMENT
Keywords:BELIZE RIVER WATER QUALITY, NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
The Belize River continues to face pollution problems from industrial and domestic processes. The objective of this study, therefore, was to compare nutrient levels in the three reaches of the river and to determine the overall health. Samples were acquired using a Hach Hydrolab Sonde and a Niskin Water Sampler; laboratory analyses were done using a Hach DR 5000 Spectrophotometer. Results from water quality analysis indicated that the river was not in proper health conditions as the levels of nitrates, nitrites, ammonia and phosphates were elevated in all three reaches of the river. At the same time, all three reaches of the river displayed dissolved oxygen concentrations below 4mg/L, which can prove to be detrimental to aquatic life. However, this low dissolved oxygen concentration could be faulty reading by the hydrolab sonde as the river is very turbulent and therefore, should display high dissolved oxygen levels throughout the river. Nevertheless, the river is being directly and indirectly polluted from many different sources and the mitigation measures would therefore have to be more complex.