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Filling wetlands is a risk

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The Environmental Protection Agency or EPA has disclosed that filling in wetlands areas by some individuals is a risk for the country. “When we fill all the wetlands by building our houses, then we are vulnerable,” said the EPA.

Addressing reporters during a special news conference on Monday, June 13, 2016 at the EPA on 4th Street Sinkor in Monrovia, the Executive Director, Madam Anyaa Vohiri, indicated that as a mandate, the EPA is responsible for Monitoring, Coordinating and Supervision of the sustainable management of the environment, in partnership with other agencies of government.

According to her, the Act creating the EPA gives it key functions, some of which include integrating scientific mechanism and technical requirements in environmental management in order to develop indicators for environmental changes, as well as progress of environ mental sustainability.

Madam Vohiri noted that part of the functions are also to established environmental criteria, guidelines, specification and standards for the production process and sustainable use of the natural resources for the health and welfare of the present generation, so as to prevent environmental degradation.

“We are also there to monitor and assess projects and activities, including those carried out by relevant ministries and bodies, to ensure that the environment is not degraded by such activities and that environment management objectives are adhered to, while adequate

early monitoring on impending environmental emergencies is given,” said Executive Director Vohiri. According to her, the destruction of mangroves encroachment of wetlands, pollution of water sources from mining and extractive activities poses serious threat.

The EPA Executive Director, however, noted that the destruction of viable and critical infrastructure along the coast from sea erosion, and monitoring of continue environmental degradation, including the loss of biodiversity, are key issues needed to be addressed to avoid future problem.

She added that the impact of climate change continues to exacerbate environmental challenges in Liberia. Meanwhile, Madam Vohiri has said that to address age-old environmental problems, there was a need for reliable, consistent, accessible and predictable financing.

She asserted that the EPA was aware of the fact that the fiscal capability Liberia was small, compared to the huge demand and competing national priorities. She said the EPA, in order for it to be able to respond to some of its projects, has brought in US$3m from the Global Environment Facility or GEF for all alternative energy activities under the Liberia Electricity Access Project or LEAP, saying the agency has also completed a draft concept note of the Monrovia Metropolitan Climate Resilient Project proposal, noting :“if completed and submitted to the green climate fund or GCF, Liberia could benefit at least US$50m in funding to address a number of projects, including strengthened natural coastal defense system to reduce the exposure coastal communities and key infrastructure to climate risks, the enhancement of the climate resilience of key coastal socio-economic infrastructure and community assets.

Others include strengthening the policy, institutional and regulatory framework for implementation of an integrated coastal zones management and strengthening coastal communities, livelihood resilience against climate risk.

By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by George Barpeen

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