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EPA strengthens visibility in hotspot counties

The EPA has warned against people constructing wetlands and vowed to penalize or close companies that do not comply with Liberia’s environmental protection management law.

By Lincoln G. Peters

Monrovia, May 29, 2024: Liberia’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it has boosted its visibility by establishing EPA offices in four hotspot counties.

The EPA has disclosed that the offices will deal with environmental issues from the targeted areas and has warned against individuals constructing wetland structures.

EPA Executive Director Dr. Emmanuel Urey King Yarkpawolo announced the establishment of the offices on Saturday, 25 May 2024, following the climax of a three-day Cabinet Retreat held in Congo Town, a suburb of Monrovia.

Dr. Yarkpawolo said the hotspot counties are River Cess, Gbarpolu, Grand Cape Mount, and Montserrado.

Dr. Yarkpawolo outlined some key deliverables of his 100 days, stating the decentralization of the EPA.

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He said a National Environmental Policy Council was constituted, its board was established, and its EPA offices were established in four hotspot counties.

“Those were four new counties in which we never had EPA presence. Today, when you go there, we have offices that are well-powered by solar systems, computers, and other working tools,” he explained.

With inspectors and awareness officers assigned to these offices, Dr. Yarkpawolo noted that the EPA will start to deal with environmental issues emanating from these areas.

He also spoke of the introduction of integrity at the EPA, saying his administration managed to meet his 100-day deliverables at 100%.

The EPA chief said President Joseph Nyumah Boakai has recognized the entity’s work, and many more Liberians are following his work at the EPA.

Recalling other key successes, he explained that the degradation of wetlands on Liberian soil has substantially reduced.

Overall, he said in the next five years, the EPA would be much more responsible to the people of Liberia. 

Regarding the job expectation, he assured that in the next five years, the EPA will be much more accountable and improve enforcement of the Environmental Law of Liberia.

He also assured that the agency would penalize or close companies that did not comply with Liberia’s environmental protection management law.

“Do not build in the wetlands. It’s unlawful. We will start coming after you. We [are] asking people not to build in swamp areas because it is wrong,” Dr. Yarkpawolo warned.

He lauded President Boakai for initiating his first cabinet retreat, which, according to him, touched on nationalism, patriotism, and all good aspects of Liberia. 

“The President challenged us, including ministers and heads of agencies, to do the best in order to achieve the ARREST Agenda for Inclusive Development (AAID),” he noted.

He also agreed with Vice President Jeremiah Kpan Koung, who encouraged officials to attach timelines to their activities.

Dr. Yarkpawolo said the EPA has an annual work plan under which every department is held accountable for its role.

Meanwhile, Dr. Yarkpawolo has applauded the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) for its plan in the coming year to take the country’s budget to billion dollars.

He also praised the Civil Service Agency (CSA) for efforts to streamline the civil service system to ensure accountability and transparency in the public workforce.

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