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EPA Bans Black Sand Mining Until…

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By Elbie Sebleh

MONROVIA: In a significant move to protect Liberia’s environment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken action against illicit and unregulated black sand mining.

The EPA, in collaboration with the Cabinet of Liberia, has placed a ban on black sand mining due to its alarming rate of destruction and degradation on the environment.
Addressing the Ministry of Information regular press briefing Thursday, May 2, 2024, the Executive Director of the EPA, Dr. Urey Yarkpawolo made the pronouncement.

According to him, Black sand mining has been a pressing issue in various locations across the country, including Royesville in Montserrado County, Marshall Wetlands in Margibi County, and Rivercess County.

He pointed out that the EPA has identified the urgent need for additional research on black sand mining to formulate comprehensive policies, guidelines, and regulations that will ensure sustainable harvesting of this resource.

With that being said, Dr. Urey assured the public that once the policies, guidelines, and regulations are completed, the moratorium on black sand mining will be lifted, allowing for a regulated and environmentally conscious approach to its extraction.

At the same time, the EPA boss explained that the EPA has achieved significant milestones as part of their 100-day deliverables.

He lamented that as part of the agency’s 100-day deliverables, County offices have been established in Rivercess, Gbarpolu, Grand Cape Mount, and Montserrado counties, completing the decentralization process.

The aims of those county offices are to fulfill the EPA’s statutory mandate of protecting and managing the environment at the local level.

To mark said achievement, the EPA will officially launch its 100-day deliverables program today, Friday, May 3rd, 2024, in Bentol, Montserrado County.

The event will be attended by county leadership, international organizations, and other stakeholders, highlighting the importance of local engagement in environmental protection.

Dr. Yarkpawolo furthered that the EPA is actively promoting transparency and accountability in Liberia’s extractive industries.

The agency is in the process of sending a letter to the Internal Auditing Agency (IAA) to commence an audit, ensuring that operations are conducted in a responsible and sustainable manner.

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