Environmental Org. Wants Weah Back-off from Bali Island

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Partial view of Bali Island (FPA image)

-says Liberia is not short of land for new infrastructure

Barely one week after President George Weah made known his intend to transform the Bali Island into “new Monrovia,” local environmental conservation and advocacy organizations have said that the decision must be reconsidered as the Island is a signatory to the Ramsar Convention.

The Convention on Wetlands, called the Ramsar Convention, is the intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. The Convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975. In Liberia, it covers the Bali, on Bushrod Island in Monrovia, the Kpatawee Waterfalls, in Bong County, and the Gbedin Waterfalls, in Nimba County.

And because of this, authorities of the Liberia Center for Environmental Education and Research (LICER) have called on the Weah administration to rescind its decision wanting to transform the Bali Island into a city, where a proposed conference center will be named in honor of late Indian Prime Minister Mahatma Gandhi.

“Let the government select another location for this proposed project as Liberia is not short of land to build its many landmark infrastructures; therefore, the president should back-off from the plan,” LICER said in a statement.

LICER Incorporated, in a recent press statement, recalled how in 2003, Liberia became a state party to the Ramsar Convention, which aimed is to protect wetlands as global horizon.

The statement further that the Ramsar Convention identified five wetlands of environmental importance to be saved and protected, which include Mesurado (Montserrado), Lake Piso (Cape Mount), Marshal (Margibi), Kpatawee (Bong) and  Gbedin, in Nimba County.

Also, the statement, which referenced the Ramsar’s annotated list of wetlands’ international importance, added that the 6,760 hectares of wetland is important for the protection of three mangrove species (Rhizophora harrisonii, R. mangle and Avicennia africana), which are threatened by intense charcoal burning and fuel wood collection.

It added that the wetland also provides a favorable habitat and feeding ground for several species of birds, including the African spoonbill Platalea alba, Common Pratincole Glareola nuchaltis and Curlew Numenius arquata. The island is also a habitat for vulnerable African dwarf crocodile, the Nile crocodile and the African sharp-nosed crocodile, and plays an important role in shoreline stabilization and sediment trapping.

Moreover, LISER said that the violation by the  Liberian government to habitat the Bali Island signals an “unwillingness to honor agreement made by its predecessors.

“Contrary to the tenets of the Ramsar Convention, Liberia has decided to violate the purpose of this all important legal document. The action of the George Weah-led government sends a clear signal that it is not prepared to honor any agreement entered into by its predecessors,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, the Daily Observer has learned that authorities at the Ministry of Public Works has requested the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue an environmental certificate that would allow the project to ahead.

In that regard, it is reported that the EPA has requested government to conduct an environmental assessment on the Island before further discussion is held as to whether the project will proceed or not.

It can be recalled that in March, President Weah informed journalists during a tour of the Bali Island that he envisions skyscrapers, office buildings, shopping malls, banks, insurance companies, night clubs, beautiful lights and magnificent colors flourishing there.

Author

  • George Harris is one of the handful journalists passionately covering agricultural issues including fisheries in Liberia. He has been sharing agricultural and related stories with our company since 2016. George Harris holds a diploma in Journalism and a bachelor's degree in agricultural science.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Leave our swamp alone.
    Kiss me, Buka fish, and other marine widelife animals/creatures have to survive so we too can survive. Let’s preserve our wetland.

  2. We have other parts of Liberia that provides same habitat to exist. These creatures are good to have but this island also when develop, can be use as a tourism site for tourist to take a view on our wide life.

  3. LICER you wrong. Don’t stop the government to built new city on island. Have you not being in Hong Kong? People always like to be darkness. Pls wait and see transformation.
    No Shopping Mill in Monrovia. Please think ahead not behind

  4. Are you numskulls aware of what, or how much it would cost to reclaim a wet land versus dry land? It is so disheartening that sometimes people become so uncritically attached to some of these lunatics they call their leader that they are ready to drink whatever the concoction to prove their loyalty to him/her. For the new Monrovia or capital we desire, is this how to go about it, just by the fantasy of some opium smoker without taking not consideration all the technical details surrounding this island? Perhaps Mr. Erratic president should build his new house there first, in order to convince the rest of you one brain cell morons it is structurally sound to withstand the future weights of buildings, roads, vehicles and human traffic that it will be accommodating. How about that?

  5. Mr.George,
    It shall be nice if you could post authentic data. Please read through your article before the same can be published. When did Mathatma Gandhi become a Prime Minister of India. Please validate your article with people who has an apt knowledge on the subject. This is highly disheartening to get something like this from you.. You must be aware that there are a lot of Indians living in Liberia .

  6. Liberians should learn to debate without being malicious. No need for abusive language. Just make your point and leave the space open for the debate to continue.

  7. So, land should not be developed because of wildlife? We are here to control wildlife not wildlife controlling us..

  8. Gandhi, do you know how Indians consider black people ? For a place in Africa especially Liberia for a place to be named after a man (Gandhi) who said Indians are better than Africans…

    Go to the University of Liberia and ask those that were taught by Indians while students at UL..

    Name a place after such person in Liberia.. It will never happen..

  9. Mr. President,

    I like your dream for the Bali Island but since it is handicapped under international convention, let me show you alternatives.

    Take the map of Monrovia and look at New Kru Town. Can you imagine that peninsula being lined with skyscrapers? Just imagine how Monrovia would be beautiful with such scenic view! Those skyscrapers could possibly be used partially as some government agencies while the rest of it rented to businesses and as private dwellings for high profiled visitors and businesspeople. Think about it.
    In exchange. you could build some other units in Paynesville to relocate the current dwellers. It could also be fantastic and rewarding for the current inhabitants of New Kru Town.

    Also, bring in your foreign friends to establish a viable marine transportation system on the Mesurado River. In so doing, people would be able to easily get to work by decent boats, thereby providing many commuting alternatives from Paynessville to Central Monrovia and vice versa to ease traffic.

    It’s possible Mr. President. Think about it seriously and please, tell your partisans to cast the demons of pompousness and vituperative expressions.
    Let them humble themselves a bit and put on their thinking cap to consider what I have proposed.
    The money is there ooooh, Mr. President. If you can’t find it, we will show you how a government can easily generate any funds. Maiden SAYEH came and did the toughest job for us, you must now be innovative to harness our resources.
    If not, just park and let us in, we will show you guys how to do it.

    No more war, constructive thinking is the way forward!

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