Randall M. Dobayou, II, Deputy Executive Director, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), over the weekend called on Liberians to use wetlands wisely to benefit people and nature.
Dobayou made the statement at a program marking the celebration of this year’s world Wetland Day held on February 2, 2019, in Chocolate City, Monrovia, under the global theme, “Wetlands and Climate Change,” and the local theme, “Protect the Wetlands; Prevent Flooding.”
He continued, “Using the wetlands wisely means to maintain them for the ecological characters, which can be achieved through the implementation of ecosystem approaches within the context of sustainable development.”
Mr. Doboyou said Liberia is committed to working towards the wise use of all the wetlands and water resources in its territorial domain, through national plans, policies and legislation, management actions and public education.
He said EPA is mandated by legislation to manage and protect the environment, both marine and terrestrial, including the protection of wetlands and facilitating several restoration projects in partnership with civil society groups and relevant government agencies.
According to Doboyou, wetlands are critical part of the natural environment, because they protect the shores from wave action, reduce the impact of floods, absorb pollutants and improve water quality.
He said wetlands provide habitat for animals and plants and many contain a wide diversity of life and an important range of environmental, social and economic services.
Doboyou called on Liberians to stop cutting down mangroves in the wetlands, because it protects shorelines from damaging storm and wide winds, waves and floods.
“Stop cutting our mangroves, because they are naturally created by God to maintain water quality and clarity; they are meant to filter pollutants and trap sediments originating from the land. Our mangroves are not wood, stop cutting them for the purpose of drying fishes; we must cherish our wetlands’ resources, not to abuse them,” he said.
Robert G. Fagans, Deputy Minister for Planning and Development at the Ministry of Agriculture, said wetlands maintain water quality, provide culture value and host a huge variety of lives.
Fagans said wetlands must be protected, because they provide a natural defense against river flooding.