FIU professor to discuss Florida’s water pollution

Nicholas Oliveira/ Contributing Writer

Henry Briceño is sketching a picture of a house right on a canal. The drawing is not overly artistic–just a simple little square with a triangle for a roof. Beneath the house is a smaller square containing a bunch of scribbles.

Those scribbles represent water pollution.

“From the septic tanks you would have leaks, which go into the canal’s water. So what you have is fecal matter going into the canals,” said Briceño, research associate of the Southeast Environmental Research Center.

Briceño, who has lectured on environmental issues for over 40 years, will discuss water contamination in the Florida Keys during a meet-and-greet at the Murray E. Nelson Government and Cultural Center in Key Largo on Friday, Sept. 19.

He has taught undergraduate courses on earth-related subjects from geochemistry to physical geology, and geomorphology to field geology.

But, Briceño also knows about business.

He has had various jobs ranging up and down the corporate ladder–from serving as an advisory board member for the Regional Resource Inventory of Guayana, to handling duties as corporate manager for Mining Planning and Control for Corporacion Venezolana de Guayana, the second largest corporation in Venezuela.

To him, the knowledgeable environmentalist and the savvy businessman are an essential combination in the combat against pollution.

Briceño wants all Floridians to understand the importance of clean water, not just to preserve our environment, but also for economic benefits. This is where that savvy businessman is allowed to work his magic.

“If we don’t have good water quality in the Florida Keys, we won’t have reefs,” he said. “We won’t have those beautiful coral reefs that people come from all around the world to see. The whole economy of the Florida Keys is going to collapse.”

For this reason, Briceño wants others to understand that keeping our waters clean isn’t just a matter of having fun in the sun. He says keeping our oceans clean is vital to preventing Florida’s economy from going down under.

Briceño challenges those that don’t see the environment as a priority: “If you don’t want to see it with your soul. At least see it with your pocket.”

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