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NOS International Program Office

International Efforts to Protect the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (from NOAA's 200th Anniversary Web Site)

Nonpoint Source Pollution, NOS Education

external linkU.N. Environmental Program

external linkU.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization

external linkIntergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Sub-Commission for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions


NOS Collaborates with Belize Officials to Reduce Coastal Nitrogen Pollution


NOS staff are working with officials in Belize to help improve coastal and marine ecosystem health by addressing land-based sources of pollution. The mangroves pictured here provide important ecological services such as stabilizing shorelines, filtering pollutants, and providing habitat, but are under extreme pressure in Belize from coastal development, aquaculture, and land-based pollution.

Mesophotic coral and fish

Belize is located in Central America. The small nation borders the Carribean Sea, Guatamela, and Mexico.

NOS International Program Office (IPO) experts recently met with officials in Belize to gain government endorsement of a Caribbean pilot project to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution in coastal areas.

In addition, IPO staff met with the newly reorganized Belize Coastal Zone Management Authority to strengthen NOAA's ties with this key regional partner and promote watershed management efforts to reduce land-based marine pollution.

Mesophotic coral and fish

Development in Placencia, along the southern coast of Belize, has led to habitat destruction and an increase in nutrient pollution and sedimentation within the Placencia Lagoon system and surrounding coastal and marine habitat.

This exchange contributes to an ongoing partnership between NOAA and the U.N. Environment Programís Global Program of Action to reduce land-based sources of pollution to the marine environment.

Globally, about 80 percent of ocean pollution originates from activities on land such as deforestation, farming, sewage, and municipal discharge. Pollution that occurs far upstream is carried through waterways and deposited along the coast, threatening the health of coral reefs and coastal marine life.

The International Program Office has provided technical assistance to over a dozen Caribbean nations as part of a long-standing partnership with the U.N. Environment Program to help the region improve coastal and marine ecosystem health by addressing land-based sources of pollution.