Belize - Environment

Due to its low population density, Belize has suffered less than its neighbors from such problems as soil erosion and pollution. However, substantial deforestation has occurred and water quality remains a problem because of the seepage of sewage along with industrial and agricultural chemicals into the water supply. It is estimated that 18% of the country's rural population does not have access to pure water. Pollutants also threaten Belize's coral reefs. Removal of coral, picking orchids in forest reserves, spear fishing, and overnight camping in any public area (including forest reserves) are prohibited. Approximately 21% of Belize's total land area is protected. Natural hazards to Belize's environment include hurricanes and coastal flooding. Belize's national capital was moved 129 km (80 mi) inland from Belize City to Belinopau because of hurricanes. Endangered species in Belize include the tundra peregrine falcon, hawksbill, green sea, and leatherback turtles, American crocodile, and Morelet's crocodile. In 2001, 5 of 125 species of mammals were endangered. Of 356 breeding bird species, one is threatened. Endangered species include the iguana, Larpy eagle, spoonbill, wood stork, and hawksbill turtle.

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