The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has certificated 120 environmental technicians following an intensive training with the goal of dispatching them in various parts of the country to watch out for unfriendly environmental activities.
Liberia according to the EPA faces many environmental challenges; environmental degradation resulting from mining, building and dumping wastes on wetland and deforestation are just a few of the activities posing threat to the environment.
Program Specialist and Manager on Environmental Focal Point, Energy and Environment, Moses A. Massah says “Current environment and climate change challenges in Liberia including deforestation of tropical rainforest, hunting of endangered species for bush meat, the pollution of rivers and coastal waters from industrial run-off and raw sewage, the burning and dumping of household waste, coastal erosion and flooding, change in temperature and rainfall patterns amongst others demand that the EPA and the country at large is adequately capacitated to address these issues.”
The EPA has the vision and state responsibility “To be a regulatory agency that ensures a clean, safe and healthy environment for all.”
At a euphoric ceremony marking the certification of the trainees, EPA Executive Director, Nathaniel T. Blama, dispelled the theory that “Liberia has human capacity gap” and emphasized that young people in the country are not given the opportunity to learn and perform in areas of choice to them.
Mr. Blama said the environmental challenges are numerous and there is a need for manpower to get out in the field to curb the crisis facing the country.
In Monrovia alone, inhabitants have built make-shift structures near rivers and creeks and defecating in the rivers; encroached on wetlands while some are directly building in the mangrove swamp, and habitually dumping plastic and other solid wastes in drainages causing pollution and environmental hazard.
In other parts of the country where mining activities are ongoing, miners; both small and large scale, open pits and leave them uncovered thereby posing threats to humans and animals.
To curb this, Mr. Blama said it was time that the EPA trains technicians who will be innovative and environmentally sensitive to go out and identify those issues for redress.
He boasted that the EPA, unlike the past, has more motorbikes to transport the environmental inspectors that those to get on board would see no condition relating to transportation to inconvenience them.
He, however, said not all the 120 persons certificated for their achievement in the environmental training will be absorbed into the EPA’s system. He said this does not entail in any way that the training was not important. “The training you got will enable you to get job with other companies as an environmentalist, and being not absorbed into EPA’s system should not discourage you about what you have achieved,” said Blama.
He disclosed further that another phase of the specialized training will be in February and urged others to take advantage of it for their benefit.
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is a partner of the EPA. The representative of UNDP at the certification program, Moses Massah said the institution will remain committed to the EPA in ensuring that crucial issues relating to climate change are addressed and the environment becomes friendly to all living things including humans themselves.