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EPA frowns at wetland users

The Environmental Protection Agency or EPA has frowned on the misuse of wetland by citizens across the country.

According to the EPA, some individuals deem it prudent to build houses on wetland, something, which it says will cause more harm to the country in the future.

The Environmental Protection Agency has a statutory duty to monitor, supervise and coordinate all activities of the environment in Liberia.

Addressing a group of facilitators on Wednesday, 39 April in the conference room of the Young Men Christian Association or YMCA building in Monrovia during a one-day National Wetland Policy Validation Workshop, the Executive Director of the EPA, Madam Anyaa Vohiri, said vast members of the public are in the constant habit of constructing on wetlands, which could put the country in danger in times to come and harm the environment.

Madam Vohiri explained that the building of houses or other structures in wetland areas should be halted to avoid future embarrassment for coming generation.

She said due to the importance of wetlands, the EPA has drafted a wetland policy, and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has mandated the agency to provide security for the safety of wetlands in various communities, including rural Liberia.

The EPA boss told participants at the workshop that if wetlands must be fully protected, there is a need to empower locals because they are the immediate custodians of such areas, but stressed that the drafting of the wetland policy is to halt the misuse of such environmental space by community dwellers.

It may be recalled that the Environmental Protection Agency some time ago, called on the public to deal with waste management in various communities, adding, poor waste management poses serious health hazard to community residents, leading to sicknesses.

The EPA said the habit of dumping unwanted materials in the community does not only affect lives of residents, but has serious effects on the entire community in the wake of rising global temperature in the country, which correspondingly hinders wetlands.

Also speaking at the validation workshop, Assistant Lands, Mines and Energy Minister for Mineral Exploration and Environmental Research, Boiyam Kpakolo, said  in order to safe guard Liberia’s wetlands, there should be a wetland registry that would provide permit to community dwellers, including foreigners before constructing in wetland areas.

Meanwhile, giving a background of the wetland policy, the Assistant Manager for Conversation at the EPA, Madam Cecelia Kollie, said Liberia became a signatory to the Wetland Convention in 2003, with the country designing five wetland areas with a total surface of 6,938 hectares.

She said the country’s wetlands are under serious threat from users involved in cutting down mangrove, reclamation, pollution, and over fishing mostly by rural dwellers.

By Lewis S. Teh

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