By: AJ Shirley Konah

Liberia: Authorities of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are raising redflags over the destruction and encroachment of Wetlands in Liberia.

The EPA Executive Director Prof. Wilson Tarpeh indicated in a press conference that the growing wave of illegal human settlements, cutting of the Mangroves forest, dumping of waste indiscriminately and other Harmful practices are destroying Liberia’s wetlands.

Liberia, as a party to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, is to ensure its International obligation to keep wetlands well managed and protected.

Wetlands are important habitat for both plants and animals species. It serves as a detox and sponge for the environment, nutrients deposit and more importantly a major Shore Stabilizer to prevent flooding.

The EPA Boss, in his briefing, noted that though these benefits exist, residents of wetland areas continue to threaten the habitat by also using dynamite for fishing and constructing within the waterways and wetlands.

Prof Wilson K. Tarpeh said the EPA has embarked on several actions in protecting wetlands, such as media education, erecting of bill boards, instituting stop orders to people constructing in wetlands and also the EPA technicians are carrying out awareness on the importance of the wetlands and it’s protection.

Despite all these interventions, he said, people continue to violate, hence, causing pollution of Wells and giving rise to vector borne diseases such as malaria, cholera, typhoid fever etc.

Prof. Tarpeh named communities that are hot spots. They include: SKD Boulevard, Johnsonville, Gardnersville, Tweh Farm, Duazon, Bloh Town along the RIA Highway. These communities are flooded due to continuous rain and dangerous reptiles threatened the lives of people in those areas.

The EPA boss cautioned people destroying those wetlands with their illegal activities to stop. He advised the local administrators to ensure and assist by not giving squatters rights within the wetlands that houses mangrove forest and also avoid building dwelling homes in the swamp so as not to cause environmental degradation.

“Let me use this medium to strongly advise our people to stop destroying the wetlands. we want to again advise local administrators to help us ensure that no one is giving squatter’s right within the Wetlands that houses the Mangrove Forest. Do not build dwelling homes in the swamp and do not dump waste in the wetlands”, Prof. Tarpeh.

The EPA further assured the public that his institution will continue to halt all actions that are destroying wetlands. He urged all to report any action within communities like laterite backfilling, cutting of mangroves for EPA to take action.

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