17 June 2019

Sierra Leone: 'Government Is Paying Lip Service to Protecting the Environment'

Chief Executive Officer of the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Bala Amarasekaran has told Concord Times that the Government of Sierra Leone was not serious about protecting the environment, but rather paying lip service to the issue.

While stating his concerns to this press, Balla said that, in a bid to observe the World Environment Day, his Sanctuary made a concerted effort by inviting the media, students, Environment Protection Agency and other Stakeholders to plant jack fruits and plum trees very close to the sanctuary.

He added that, the event was so colourful that even the onlookers applauded him for his effort to protect the environment through the planting of trees in such a strategic location which has served as one of the most important water catchments for the city over the years.

He stated that a day after the event, he noticed that a group of unknown individuals went to the site and uprooted all what they had planted and further cleared the bush deep into the forest.

He said such had been the practice of land grabbers for so long now, stating that he had taken up issues of such with government officials responsible for land and environmental protection, but that nothing has been done in that direction.

"If the government is really serious about protecting the environment, then, let them put a stop on land grabbing. We are tired of seeing policies and no implementation. They should act now, and they should act fast," he said in an angry mood.

He said the sanctuary which has about 80 chimpanzees does not only serve as a tourist destination, but also protect the catchment area and by extension contributing to the protection of the water dam for the city.

He noted that in as much as the sanctuary has over the years served as a place for internship for students all over the world, it has as well employed a lot of sierra Leoneans.

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