LIBERIA: “Backfilling of Wetland Compromises Ecological Integrity” …Prof. Tarpeh Justifies Planned Demolition

The Executive Director of Liberia Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh has endorsed and justified a planned demolition of structures built in the wetland near Police Academy Junction along the SKD Boulevard in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.

The Government of Liberia through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on 25 February issued a 30-day ultimatum to individuals, firms and residents undertaking projects within and along the wetland around the Police Academy Junction to remove all existing structures or face demolition by the government.

Prof. Tarpeh said the planned demolition is necessary because “unsustainable and unauthorize backfilling of the wetland; blocking of waterways; discharge of wastewater and sewages into the wetland and water courses around the Police Academy Junction are compromising the ecological integrity of the Mesurado Wetland.”

He threatened administrative and regulatory sanctions against individuals, firms and residents currently undertaking projects within and along the wetland in the area.

The ultimatum was contained in a ‘halt order and citation’ released 25 February.

The Mesurado Wetland around the Police Academy Junction in Paynesville is designated as a Ramsar site under the Ramsar Convention on wetlands of international importance of which Liberia is a signatory.

The EPA Boss noted that the unapproved erecting of structures contrary to the zoning regulation and environmental law of Liberia within the wetland, the continuous degradation of the mangrove ecosystem and the illegal dumping of garbage into the wetland are also compromising the integrity of the Mesurado Wetland.

According to him, there is a prohibition under both international and national laws of Liberia to encroach upon wetlands and destruction of mangroves and other protected species necessary for the conservation of biological diversity.

He warned individuals, firms and residents to with immediate effect desist from further development, construction in the Mesurado Wetland.

“As a principal authority in Liberia for the management of the environment and the sustainable use of the natural resources thereof, the EPA is empowered under section 75 of the Environment Protection and Management Law of Liberia (EPML) to prescribe measures for protection of wetlands,” the EPA Boss said.

Section 75 of the Environment Protection and Management Law of Liberia (EPML) to prescribe measures for protection of wetlands.

Section 75 (2) of the EPML also provides that no person shall in relation to wetland, use, erect, construct, place, alter, extend, remove or demolish course in, on, under or over the bed” or to direct or block a wetland from its natural and normal course.

Section 75 (3) also empowers the EPA to by notice, impose any restrictions, as it considers necessary for the protection of the wetland from the environmental degradation.

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