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Climate Change Impacts Liberia

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-EPA Raises Alarm; Seeks MOJ’s Help To Punish Violators of Environmental Management Laws, Others

By Elbie Sebleh

MONROVIA: Liberia’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has called on the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), for its intervention to prosecute and punish companies that are non-compliance and are involved in violation of the Environmental Protection and Management Laws of Liberia.

EPA wants concerned companies, groups and individuals face required disciplinary actions including closure and imposition of fines based on investigation.

Making the disclosure over the weekend, EPA Executive Director, Dr. Emmanuel King Urey-Yarkpawolo said there is a need to prosecute violators who are disobeying the stop orders which requires the involvement of the Ministry of Justice.

According to him, they will be contacting the Ministry of Justice for possible prosecution of violators.

He added that the EPA has undertaken waves of demolition of illegal structures constructed in the wetlands, and in spite of this situation, wetlands are still heavily under threat.

” This is why the EPA has undertaken a number of actions to ensure wetlands protection and flood controls. Some of the works we have done include the following; The EPA imposed fines on a number of companies and closed down some companies for violating the Environmental Protection and Management Law of Liberia. Companies in violation of the law should expect more fines and closures,” Yarkpawolo disclosed.

He lamented that the EPA has instituted “Stop Orders” to violators to prohibit unsustainable backfilling activities at major wetland areas.

“This has been partially successful with some violators obeying the stop orders. There is a need to prosecute violators who are disobeying the stop orders which requires the involvement of the Ministry of Justice. We will be contacting the Ministry of Justice for possible prosecution of violators,” he assured.

The EPA Executive Director asserted that in addition to developing wetland policy, the EPA has undertaken actions to raise public awareness of wetlands values and benefits as well as promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands and other resources.

He mentioned that the Programs such as the Eco-Clubs are useful in these awareness and education efforts particularly focusing on children.

Dr. Yarkpawolo averred that in the face of these enforcement efforts, violations all over the place.

He stressed that ‘compliance with laws is less costly and oftentimes better than enforcement and punishment.’

Further commenting on the issues of flooding and its impact in Liberia and the world at large, he said the issue of flooding, why so much flooding In Liberia, is due to the impacts of climate change and global warming, where exceeding 1.5 degree Celsius is causing chaotic weather patterns with unpredictable rainfalls and droughts, people are building in the wetlands, cutting the mangroves, blocking alleyways and throwing trash in the drainages.

“Let me bring this down to the current realities of the city of Monrovia and other urban areas across Liberia. These are the places that absorb the water when the rain falls. Since the water has to find its way, it enters our homes and destroys our belongings, destroys our livelihoods and in recent times caused the death of children in the Omega community,” Dr. Yarkpawolo added.

He urged all communities in Liberia to establish community environmental clubs, adding that at these clubs, citizens will take the cleanliness of their communities in their own hands and will help police their environment.

” That is why we need to support and we will support the school environmental clubs or eco-club programs. At these clubs, children will learn about their environment and appreciate their efforts in conserving it. Please meet with us and give us the details of this program and we can help elevate it to the national level,” he concluded.

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