The Manager for Energy and Environment at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Moses A. Massah has described deforestation as one of the key environmental challenges Liberia is currently facing.
Mr. Massah said the key drivers of deforestation in Liberia are shifting cultivation, charcoal production, unsustainable logging, industrial oil and rubber plantations and unsustainable mining.
He made the disclosure on Monday in Ganta, Nimba County, when he proxy for UNDP Country Director, Dr. Pa Lamine Beyai at the celebration of this year's World Environmental Day organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Liberia.
The EPA is responsible for the protection of the environment and conservation of biodiversity through the implementation of policy that ensures long term economic prosperity for Liberia.
World Environmental Day is celebrated worldwide on every 5 June. This year's theme is "Connecting people to nature", while this year's slogan is "Appreciate nature, save the environment."
Mr. Massah wants Liberians take immediate steps to reduce deforestation if they must keep their environment healthy.
He said Liberians can connect to nature by turning their cities green; their parks into green lung and hubs of biodiversity.
"You can green the urban environment by greening your streets," he noted.He stressed the need for the protection of the environment and said, "If we cannot sustain the environment, we cannot sustain ourselves."
Massah further said the environment is important in our lives and must therefore be protected and taken care of.
The UNDP official said as part of its contributions to the protection of the environment, UNDP is collaborating with the EPA to support Youth Exploring Solution (YES), a local youth group, to undertake community clean-up campaign in Monrovia.
In a special statement, EPA Executive Director, Anyaa Vohiri said the 2017 World Environmental Day's theme: 'Connecting People to Nature' reminds Liberians to appreciate the beauty and importance of nature.
Madam Vohiri linked human's connection to nature, as far back to the days of creation.
Making reference to the Bible: Book of Genesis, Madam Vohiri said God created all creatures including marine animals and winged birds and made man in his own image with a command to multiply the earth and have dominion over all.
World Environmental Day, Madam Vohiri indicated, is for everyone and all global citizens to connect or reconnect with nature in ways that encourage environmental protection.