The Manager for Energy and Environment at United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Moses A. Massah has described deforestation as one of the key environmental challenges Liberia is facing.
Mr. Massah said the key drivers of deforestation in Liberia are shifting cultivation, charcoal production, unsustainable logging, industrial oil and rubber plantations and unsustainable mining.
He made the disclosure on Monday in Ganta, Nimba County when he proxy for UNDP Country Director, Dr. Pa Lamine Beyai at the celebration of this year World Environmental Day organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Liberia.
The EPA is responsible for the protection of the environment and conservation of biodiversity through the implementation of policy that ensures long term economic prosperity for Liberia.
World Environmental Day is celebrated worldwide on every 5 June. This year’s theme is “connecting people to nature”, while this year’s slogan is “Appreciate nature, save the environment.”
Mr. Massah wants Liberians take immediate step to reduce deforestation, if they must keep their environment healthy.
He said Liberians can connect to nature by turning their cities green; their parks into green lung and hubs of biodiversity.
“You can green the urban environment by greening your streets,” he noted.
He stressed the need for the protection of the environment and said, “If we cannot sustain the environment we cannot sustain ourselves.”
Mr. Massah furthered said that the environment is important in our life and must therefore be protected and taken care of.
The UNDP official disclosed that as part of its contributions to the protection of the environment, UNDP is collaborating with the EPA to support Youth Exploring Solution (YES), a local youth group to undertake community clean-up campaign in Monrovia.
“This is the first time we are doing this I hope that this can be a continuous process. The amount this year is small but the action is very big. If for example YES has a membership of 50 and each member can pick up 100 plastic bags, they will be removing 5000 plastic bags from the environment,” he noted.
He assured EPA of UNDP’s continuous supports, as it strives to ensure a sustainable environment for all.
Mr. Massah said “with your help, World Environmental Day can make a clearer than ever that we need harmony between humanity and nature so that both are able to thrive.”
In a special statement, EPA Executive Director, Anyaa Vohiri said the 2017 World Environmental Day’s theme: ‘Connecting People to Nature’ remains us to appreciate the beauty and importance of nature and about our role in protecting the earth that we share.
Madam Vohiri linked human’s connection to nature, as far back to the days of creation.
Making reference to the Bible book of Genesis, Madam Vohiri said God created all creatures including marine animals and winged birds and made man in his own image with a command to multiply the earth and have dominion over all he created.
According to her, God give Adam and Eve a commandment for connecting with nature; to work it and to take care of it and restricted them from eating from the tree of knowledge.
She said that what connect us with nature determines how we connect and noted that if that connection is based only on our dominion over nature and not on the beauty and the value of God’s incredible creation, we cannot work and take care of the Garden, as the creator had commanded.
World Environmental Day, Madam Vohiri indicated is for everyone and all global citizens to connect or reconnect with nature in ways that encourage environmental protection.
The celebration, which attracted staff of the EPA, environmental NGOs, FDA Managing Director, Arcelormittal, civil society representatives, local county authorities and members of the student community was characterized by cultural performances and a parade through the principal street of Ganta.