Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Executive Director Mr. Nathaniel Blamah has warned that if nothing is done to address climate change here, Liberia could face massive flooding which could displace citizens during heavy downpour this year.
“You’re quite aware that we’re approaching the rainy season. It has started four nights ago, and we preempt that if nothing is done to address some of those issues, there could be flooding around the city and displacements of citizens,” Mr. Blamah said recently at a press briefing at the Ministry of Information.
He sees poor urban planning and massive encroachment on swamp land and waterways as some of the reasons why more flooding occur here during rainy seasons.
According to Mr. Blamah, the EPA has sent out some technicians to identify hot zone communities, and they have started working with the Ministry of Public Works to initiate a process of cleaning or advising citizens on the issue of climate change.
In various communities like Old Road, Doe Community, and Chocolate City, Mr. Blamah observes that residents have built in the waterway and on wetland, lamenting that this is responsible for the huge flooding because the movement of water is obstructed.
The EPA boss appeals to citizens to stop building on wetland because it is not safe.
To prevent huge flooding during the rainy season, Mr. Blamah indicates that there is a need for citizens to work along with the EPA to clean the waterways, drainages and other things that cause floods.
According to Mr. Blamah, the technology required to build on wetland is not for poor people, but those that have resources.
“When we warn you and you refuse to listen, we will break your structure and you will take us to court. The law is for every Liberian, but we will not allow [you] to violate our laws,” Mr. Blamah warns.Meanwhile, the EPA is cautioning here that no one should construct without acquiring construction permit.
The EPA boss notes that the law requires permit for every structure that is above 500 centimeters because it has implication on the number of people that will dwell in it.
He says constructing a building at this magnitude is no longer a private home, but a multipurpose building.
In constructing a multipurpose building, Mr. Blamah explains that one has to consider backing space, swiss system and waste.Given these reasons, he adds that it’s important to do Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA).
The EPA is the regulatory institution of government here for the sustainable management of the environment and its natural resources. The Agency was established by an Act of Legislature on November 26, 2002, and the Act was published into handbill on April 30, 2003.
The EPA operates on three basic legal instruments, to include the National Environmental Policy (NEP), the Environmental Management and Protection Law of Liberia and the Act Creating the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA is also charged to effectively monitors and manage the Liberian environment to prevent precious resources from being overexploited, by implementing policy to ensure good governance and conservation.
The Agency is responsible for the promotion of regional cooperation on matters relating to the environment.By Lewis S. Teh–Edited by Winston W. Parley