Former Margibi County Superintendent and Chief Technical Advisor to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has called on Liberians, particularly political parties, to prioritize environmental issues that will help to empower people, create sustainable development and a prosperous future.
In an interview with newsmen during the observance of World Environmental Day, Levi Z. Piah said Liberians should not vote into office any political party that does not make environmental issues a priority and fails to address the problem of climate change.
This year’s World Environmental Day was observed under a local theme, “Save the Planet, Enjoy Nature.”
Mr. Piah said institutions such as the EPA and the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) have the responsibility to resist climate change and ensure that environmental compliance are given full support by the government.
“By 2050, if the present consumption and production patterns of food remain the same with the rising population expected to reach 9.6 billion, we will need three planets to sustain our ways of living and consumption,” Mr. Piah warned.
He observed that the current lifestyle of people is negatively affecting the environment through food-related energy consumption, waste generation, water pollution, deforestation and reliance on and misuse of wetlands by the present generation.
He forewarned that climate change in Liberia poses serious threats to all development initiatives, to the extent that if nothing is done about it now, the country will continue to suffer the impacts of climate change including rising sea levels and dangerous floods due to the heavy rainfall along the coast.
These impacts would probably trigger hunger, conflict, and massive migration of people, if nothing is done to address the issues through support from the relevant agencies and partners in the country, said Piah.
He recommended to the government and its partners to put a halt to deforestation as one of the best means of tackling the situation.
The cutting down of our forests for shifting cultivation, firewood, uncontrolled logging activities, pit sawing, hunting, among other things, pose serious threats to our survival and peace, declared Piah.
“The continuous destruction of the country’s biodiversity is depleting the forests, while plants and animals species are becoming extinct.
“The well-being of humanity, the environment, and the functioning of the economy ultimately depend upon the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources. Evidence shows that people are consuming far more than what the planet can sustainably provide,” he further cautioned.
Mr. Piah noted that many of the earth’s ecosystems are nearing critical tipping points of depletion or irreversible change pushed by the high population growth and economic development of the world. He stated that 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year, while almost 1 billion people go undernourished and another 1 billion go hungry.