If you’re looking for good news, you’re in the right place. After 10 years, the Belize barrier reef has been removed from the UNESCO List of Endangered World Heritage Sites. With its 290-km long reef and 96,300 hectares of natural reserve, the Barrier Reef Reserve System is the only UNESCO site in the country (since 1996) as well as being the most extensive coral reef in the northern hemisphere. This is a magical location where at least 500 fish as well as 350 mollusc species cohabit together with marine turtles, birds and crocodiles.

UNESCO List of Endangered World Heritage Sites

According to UNESCO there are all of 54 (in 2018)  Endangered World Heritage Sites. These are cultural, natural or mixed sites located mainly in Africa, the Middle-East and South America. There’s no need to go that far to find such endangered, beautiful locations: due to the construction of skyscrapers and other tall buildings in the city, Vienna’s old town centre became part of the list in 2017. The causes behind a site being entered in the endangered list are varied but they all share a general concept: they all risk undergoing accelerated deterioration because of specific actions or events. For instance? Neglect, natural disasters, pollution or development driven by urbanisation or tourism.

What has been done to protect the Belize coral barrier?

Interruption of oil explorations in the whole marine area and stricter forest regulations to protect mangroves: these two actions implemented by Belize in recent years have resulted in the barrier reef being cancelled from the list of endangered world heritage sites. What can we hope? That these actions will continue to be implemented to an even greater extent for a coral barrier that lives on throughout the centuries to come!

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