Ecosystems Take Center Stage at Blue Oceans Confab Today

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From right: Acting Swedish Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Elisabeth Harleman, Chairman of the National Steering Committee and EPA Executive Director Nathaniel Blama, and Conservational International Executive Director Jessica Donovan.

The ecosystem, which is being challenged by the impacts of climate change, is expected to be the center of discussion today at the ongoing Blue Oceans conference in Monrovia.

The conference, according to the organizers, represents an important opportunity to take stock of the challenges and opportunities (if any) which the Blue Economy concept presents, in the context of SDG14.

Secondary effects of global warming, such as reduced snow cover, rising sea levels, and weather changes, may influence not only human activities but also the ecosystem.

The Liberian government and its partners are collaborating to find solutions to the secondary effects of global warming, such as lessened snow cover, rising sea levels, and weather changes, that influence not only human activities but also the ecosystem. Also part of the discussion is the management of plastic waste that poses grave threats to marine life and others.

According to the experts, unchecked global warming could affect most terrestrial eco-regions and increasing global temperature means that ecosystems will change, forcing some species out of their habitats—possibly to extinction— because of changing conditions, while others are flourishing.

The Blue Ocean Conference or Blue economy is being organized by the Government of Liberia with support from the Swedish Embassy and Conservation International (CI).

The chairman of the National Steering Committee, Nathaniel Blama, who spoke to journalists at a press conference following the clean-up campaign, said the conference will bring together local and international policymakers to discuss challenges faced by the marine ecosystem as well as discuss ways in mitigating them.

Mr. Blama, who is also the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it is now time that Liberia joins the rest of the world in taking concrete actions to save the marine environment.

“There are a lot of problems confronting the ecosystem. A lot of the time people misuse it, abuse it and take it as a source of dumping ground, but it is not to be that way. It is a major source of our livelihood and our survival. Until we can see it like that, it will continue to harm us and if we don’t conserve it and make it work to benefit all Liberians, especially the most vulnerable, we could be putting ourselves at risk,” he said.

He said because of that marine pollution such as plastic waste, the EPA, Conservation International and other partners decided to convene the conference to dialogue, indicating that nature does not forgive, as what we put into it is what we will get.

Blama named some of the challenges faced by Liberia as settling of people along waterlines and dumping of plastic wastes, among others which tend to damage the ecosystem of the country.

Acting Swedish Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Elisabeth Harleman, said the use of beaches as dump sites in Liberia leads to increased marine pollution with plastic pollution on the rise.

She also made the comment on March 19, 2019, at the ELWA beach in Paynesville City during the official launch of the beach clean-up campaign initiated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in collaboration with international partners.

Ambassador Harleman noted that it is a fact that humans depend on the ocean for several reasons, which include enjoying the beautiful beaches for relaxation; a major source of fish as well as the livelihood for coastal communities.

She further observed that in Liberia and many countries today, the beautiful and blue oceans continue to be misused, adding that plastic materials, particularly, sachets and bottled water is fast taking over the environment because their production and use continue to increase on a regular basis.

The Acting Swedish envoy also noted that plastic continues to be one of the biggest components of waste generated in Monrovia and other towns across Liberia where plastic material takes hundreds of years to decompose.

She challenged Liberians to begin a new course of action and way of life regarding plastic usage by reducing and limiting the amount of plastic taken for shopping.

She said it is better to drink straight from a glass or bottle which will help in ensuring beaches and oceans remain clean and blue as ever.

Also speaking at the launch, Conservational International Executive Director Jessica Donovan assured Liberians that her organization, which has been working with the EPA over the years hoped to assist in finding a practical approach to solving the country’s prolonged poor environmental issues.

She called on Liberians to work along with the EPA and partners in finding a lasting solution to the environmental challenges facing the country.

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