That Liberia will today, June 5th, 2012 join other United Nations member countries for the celebration of World Environment Day, is something to be proud of. June 5th was set aside for the observance of World Environment Day in 1972 as a way of raising the awareness of people the world over about the necessity for the protection and conservation of the environment.
It is today 40 years since the declaration of this all important day, whose significance is gaining ground year in and year out. Since the day was declared, new interventions had occurred on the global environment scene. Following the launching of the New Millennium Development Goals (MDG's) in the year 2000 a development frame work that targets poverty reduction so as to bridge the gap between the industrialized western nations most of whom find themselves in the Northern hemisphere and countries whose development is hampered by abject poverty and corruption, in which ensuring environmental sustainability by the year 2015 constitute part of the MDGs objectives, many governments the world over have given added impetus to environmental protection.Today many countries have realized that natural and artificial calamities on the global scene have transformed into thye menaces of pollution, climatic change etc on a much wider scale than about two decades ago. In Africa for example, desertification is having a telling effect on countries bordering the Sahara and Kalahari deserts, which means that a global focus and attention should be given to providing a solution to the desert problem.
As an official of Liberia's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has observed, the government's establishment of the EPA in Liberia, with the objective of raising awareness on environmental issues in Liberia few years ago was not only timely, but shows that this country is fast on the way of economic and post-conflict recovery after 14 years of devastating rebel conflict when every aspect of normal life was grinded to a halt. Liberia is really back in to the fold of the comity of nations.What is happening is that Liberia may perhaps not be preoccupied with issues like desertification, but there are other issues that remain a matter of concern such as climatic change, a grim situation that can have a devastating effect on agricultural activities in any country. Liberia's flora and fauna need to be protected and conserved despite the urgency in the march towards sustainable development.The EPA has been sending strong signals to mining and agricultural companies operating the country that they will not sit supinely while toxic and harmful materials are wasted in the country's beautiful rivers, such as the St. Paul, Cavalla, St. John, and the Mano River for example.
Liberia will not also sit idle while industrial toxic wastes from European manufacturing companies are dumped into its coastal lines with impunity.Barely few years ago in the midst of the Ivorian crisis, a merchant ship from Europe dumped a substantial quantity of harmful toxic waste in the lagoon in the middle of Abidjan, the Ivorian commercial capital which catastrophically resulted into several casualties. And also during the war in the Ivory Coast and the Ivory Coast respectively, dozens of Ivoirians and Liberians perished from poisoned alcoholic beverages that were sold on the market in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast and on Bushrod Island in Monrovia. Especially in Liberia where the war claimed thousands of lives, environmental pollution was a serious problem as dogs scramble over the corpses and hungry people in turn take there revenge on any dog found roaming around. This is why we salute the EPA for successfully luring the involvement of many stakeholders in their awareness campaign.
According to the EPA Manager for Inter-sectoral Coordination Madam Scholastica Doe, among programs planned to raise public awareness about environmental protection and conservation on World Environment Day, June 5th will be a parade from the ELWA junction to the Paynesville city hall where the Ex-Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) will be expected to address the audience as keynote speaker.It is also gratifying to note that the EPA has made the awareness campaign a nationwide affair with the inclusion of various stakeholders such as Firestone, Arcelor Mittal, BHP Biliton and Chevron as well as the press.
We hope that the coming on board of the above stakeholders, some of whom have been accused of polluting the environment will in no way be a hindrance to the EPA's resolve to continue its advocacy for a safer, clean and secured environment in which every Liberian should feel protected.