As part of an estimated 1 billion people observing this year’s World Earth Day under the theme “Restore our Earth”, environmental professionals, media practitioners, development partners, teachers, and students joined voices to call for swift actions from actors actively involved in other sectors to promote a safe environment in order to restore nature.
Earth Day is observed on 22 April every year. The Day provides an opportunity to raise public awareness around the world of the challenges regarding the well-being of the planet and all the life it supports.
According to Earthday.org, this year’s theme focuses on natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems.
“In this way, the theme rejects the notion that mitigation or adaptation are the only ways to address climate change
In a one-day awareness program, marking Liberia’s first-ever celebration of Earth Day, speakers spoke against local practices which threaten the ecosystem and contradict the global theme for this year’s World Earth Day. The event under the theme ” Promoting a Safe Environment in order to Restore Nature” brought together ten representatives each from ten high schools within the Greater Monrovia area Also in attendance were representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Paynesville City Corporation (PCC), Monrovia City Corporation (MCC), Cities Alliance and Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding (CEMESP).
The event which was held at the Paynesville City Hall in Paynesville City was organized by the Center of Media Studies and Peacebuilding (CEMESP), under a component of the Cities Alliance Liberia Project “Delivering Climate –Resilient Solid Waste Management Services in Greater Monrovia through Communities-Based Enterprises. The project is funded by the European Union.
Yondeh Moore, the Outreach and Capacity Development Specialist at Cities Alliance, said that the project which focuses on solid waste management is also connected to this year’s global theme of Earth-Day. She added that part of the project focuses on sensitizing communities and students about solid waste management-its pros and cons, and the Cities Alliance is partnering with CEMESP to increase awareness in Greater Monrovia. She made the remarks during her presentation of the Cities Alliance Liberia’s project.
Director of Intersectoral Unit at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Frances Seydou, who served as the keynote speaker of the event, attributed current stress on nature to overpopulation and activities of man.
“The increase in the population of the country has resulted to more pressure on natural resources; for instance, let’s take Montserrado county. The current inhabitants of the county exceed what it was fifty years ago.
“Dwelling place has become a problem. People are building in swamps, people are cutting down trees from the forest to make charcoal, and people are dumping wastes in swamps. All of these practices are bad,” Madam Seydou said.
She disclosed that the EPA, in the coming months, will commence a demolition exercise of establishments that are situated in wetlands.
“Wetlands play a very key role in restoring our earth and we must see that it is well protected. For those undertaking some sort of construction projects in our wetlands, we have sent out a notice to them, and very soon we will carry out a demolition exercise. All we are awaiting now is the go-ahead from the court to commence this exercise,” Madam Seydou revealed.
Madam Frances Seydou, however, admonished the audience predominantly young students, to assume their responsibility in making Liberia a clean and safer environment. She called on young students to serve as ambassadors for proper solid waste management among their peers.
“Citizens have a major role to play also. We all must serve as agents of change for the clean and safe Liberia that we all want. Let us start looking at our purchasing choices, and how we treat the waste that we generate,” she said.
In the same vein, the Technical Solid Waste Management Specialist at Cities Alliance, Garmondyu Zogar cautioned the audience of mankind’s activities which he said has caused a lot of harm to nature. He emphasized that the process of restoring the earth involves everyone’s participation.
“The fact that we must restore indicate that we have lost something that we had before. The call to restore is based on the fact that our activities as people have caused a lot of harm to our earth; therefore, restoring the earth must be everyone’s business,” he said.
Earlier, Malcolm Joseph, Executive Director of CEMESP, lauded Cities Alliance and the other partners for making it possible for Liberia to make history by commemorating the 51st anniversary of World Earth Day.
He extended gratitude to the European Union for the financial support which made the celebration possible. “Today we are proud to join with our partners, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Paynesville City Corporation (PCC), and Monrovia City Corporation (MCC), and with support from Cities Alliance Liberia Country Program Office to commemorate this all-important day”, Joseph said, while reaffirming his organization’s commitment to the global cause to save our earth by promoting a clean and green environment.