Liberia: Govt. to Demolish Wetland Structures

The Liberian government through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has asked individuals, firms and residents currently undertaking projects within and along wetland around the National Police Academy to remove all existing structures within 30 days or face demolition.

The EPA said it would also impose administrative and regulatory sanctions against individuals, firms and residents currently undertaking projects within and along the wetland around the Police Academy Junction area in Paynesville City.

The warning is contained in a 'halt order and citation' released February 25, 2021.

EPA Executive Director, Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh said unsustainable and unauthorized backfilling of the wetland; blocking of waterways; discharge of wastewater and sewages into the wetland and water courses around the Police Academy Junction along the SKD Boulevard are compromising the ecological integrity of the Montserrado Wetland.

The Montserrado Wetland around the Police Academy Junction along the SKD Boulevard is designated as a Ramsar site under the Ramsar Convention on wetlands of international importance of which Liberia is a signatory.

Prof. Tarpeh said the unapproved erecting of structures contrary to the zoning regulation and environmental law of Liberia within the wetland, the continuous degradation of the mangrove ecosystem and the illegal dumping of garbage into the wetland are also compromising the integrity of the Montserrado Wetland.

According to him, there is a prohibition under both international and national laws of Liberia to encroach upon wetlands and destruction of mangroves and other protected species necessary for the conservation of biological diversity.

He warned individuals, firms and residents to with immediate effect desist from further development, construction in the Montserrado Wetland.

"As a principal authority in Liberia for the management of the environment and the sustainable use of the natural resources thereof, the EPA is empowered under section 75 of the Environment Protection and Management Law of Liberia (EPML) to prescribe measures for protection of wetlands," the EPA Boss said.

Section 75 of the Environment Protection and Management Law of Liberia (EPML) provides measures for protection of wetlands.

Section 75 (2) of the EPML also provides that no person shall in relation to wetland, use, erect, construct, place, alter, extend, remove or demolish course in, on, under or over the bed" or to direct or block a wetland from its natural and normal course.

Section 75 (3) also empowers the EPA to by notice, impose any restrictions, as it considers necessary for the protection of the wetland from the environmental degradation.

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