Sierra Leone: 'Air Pollution Causes 1.3 Million Deaths Per Year'

Executive Chairperson of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Prof. Foday M. Jaward, has yesterday stated during the celebration of the Word Environment Day at the British Council Conference hall that, pollution causes about one million three hundred(1.3 million) deaths per year the world over.

He added that, Sierra Leone was one of the most affected countries due to the actions and inactions of its citizens.

He noted that until people stop constructing dwelling houses in disaster prone areas, avoid bush burning, stop the massive timber production, and deviate from sand mining, it would be difficult to maintain a good and healthy environment.

"We all saw what happened at Regent in August 2017. It was the result of our actions and inactions. We are very happy that the judiciary of Sierra Leone has now opened an environment court that deals with environmental cases. You are rest assured that from this moment on, any environmental crime is punishable by law," he said.

In her statement, representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Coordinator, Madam T.Sankoh, said it was not all about celebrating the World Environment Day, but also about creating awareness, reminding individuals to make change in line with environmental issues, to make sure it was clear that humans need harmony for the environment to strive by educating them on the importance of planting trees instead of cutting them.

She urged government to increase ways and means for air waves across the country, because according her, even the congested traffic within the city is one major cause of air pollution in the country.

She observed that less ventilated houses where people use charcoal and wood to cook was one of the agents of air pollution, which, she said was very harmful to women and children.

In his keynote address before launching the EPA's Maiden News Letter, Minister of Lands, Housing and Country Planning, Dr.Denis Sandy, said life expectancy in Sierra Leone was at 48 years because of the actions and inactions of citizens.

He cited that most drivers who accidentally kill street dogs left them on the streets to decompose and pollute the air.

He added that even though the EPA celebrates every year's World Environment Day, the agency should actively involve stakeholders and make sure that they use strategies that would minimize environmental hazards.

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