Stop Further Destruction of Mayan Pyramids in Belize

Target: Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer of the Department of the Environment

Goal: Prevent further destruction of Mayan archeological sites

Contractors in Belize have destroyed a Mayan pyramid that was constructed in approximately 250 B.C.E. The contractors plan on using the limestone to build roads throughout the country. The destruction of such a significant monument is not the first occurrence in Belize, and most likely will not be the last. The natural resources used in the construction of these ancient ruins are of high value to contracting companies, and despite the fact that it is illegal to destroy these remnants, construction companies continue to do so.

Such destruction has been going on for decades — and with Mayan ruins covering the Central Americas, contractors frequently get away with destroying them. Many of these ruins sit on private lands. The government of Belize must impose more sanctions protecting these sites, even if they are privately owned.

Punishment for these violations can be ten years imprisonment or fines up to $10,000, but that is not enough to deter contractors from violating these sites. This type of destruction not only harms the environment by paving the way for increased development in these areas, but also limits archeological research on the remains, preventing further understanding of a beautiful and ancient civilization.

We must demand that stricter fines and prison sentences be imposed for contractors who violate the loosely followed laws regarding Mayan sites. Signing this petition will urge the Department of the Environment’s Chief Officer Martin Algeria to pursue much stricter standards and regulations regarding fines and punishment for such violations.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Martin Algeria, Chief Environmental Officer of the Department of the Environment,

The destruction of the 2,300 year old Mayan pyramid Noh Mul is not only a violation of your country’s laws, but a horrendous blow to the archeological and historical community worldwide. Contractors have destroyed the pyramid in an effort to salvage limestone to construct new roads throughout your nation.

The pyramid was on private property, but still stood as a historical monument and testament to an incredible culture. Destruction of these sites has been happening for years now, and something has to change. Contractors destroy these pyramids for financial gain, and in turn destroy priceless insight and information into a lost culture. If regulation against destruction of these ruins is not enforced, I fear that it will only continue until there are no more Mayan pyramids left. As technology advances, gathering resources for development has become much easier. I encourage you to steer contractors in a different direction.

As your department is responsible for sustainable development, I urge you to impose much harsher regulations and fines for the destruction of Mayan Pyramids. Contractors have been able to destroy so many historical sites without reprimand. This has to change. Reform ineffective regulations to further prosecute contractors and individuals who allow this type of destruction to occur.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Gregw66 via Flickr

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