The Environmental Protection Agency or EPA in Monrovia has disclosed that over 5,000 Liberians have died as a result of climate pollutants.
The EPA warns that short-lived climate pollutants are silent killers and stresses the need for serious attention to address the situation. Liberia joined the Climate Clean Air Coalition in March 2014 to address short-lived climate pollutants as a practical way in curbing near term climate change and reducing high risk from air pollution, while increasing yield in agriculture.
Addressing participants Tuesday, November 24, 2015 at a workshop and formal launch of Climate and Clean Air Coalition in Monrovia, Acting EPA Executive Director, Levi Z. Piah,said the issue of climate pollutants in Liberia is real and no one should doubt it.
The workshop, which was conducted under the auspices of the EPA with support from Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and the United Nations Economic Program or UNEP, brought together representatives of government Line Ministries and agencies, including members of the Diplomatic Corps, and various partners.
“This high figure calls for alarm and the EPA as a regulatory institution must not sit back and watch our wives and children dying of SLCP in our kitchens while we are out;today many of our citizens are also dying from indoor and outdoor air pollution that we have not recognizedas a tragedy”, Director Piah said.
He said the unsustainable use of charcoal from traditional cooking stoves which is known as coal pot pollutes various kitchens, including the use of traditional lighting by majority Liberians who survived on nothing, but nature, use of open burning for agriculture as well as pollution from defective motor vehicles.
“These are not only environmental issues, but health as well and we must work with the Ministry of Health to tackle hundreds of our people that are at risk of dying of respiratory disease”, Piah added.
The Acting EPA boss said besides being health and environmental related, climate pollutants also affect Agriculture, adding“We must work with the Ministry of Agriculture to tackle methane from open burning that reduces our crops yield, including transport, because the Ministry of Transport deals with vehicles emitting lot of pollutants in our streets and roads.”
He also warns that the level of sulfur in fuel is too high and something should be done about it.
By Lewis S. Teh-Edited by Jonathan Browne