The Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Nathaniel Blama has called on the Legislature to consider increasing the entity’s budget due to its immense task of resolving environmental issues across the country.
In a release issued in Monrovia, the EPA Executive Director appearing before the House of Representatives plenary on Thursday, August 23, 2018, said not much has been done in supporting the entity to effectively carry out its responsibilities.
According to him, one reason why the country continues to face environmental challenges such as flooding is due to central government unwillingness to support the EPA’s in curbing the situation even before it happens.
He said the EPA has repeatedly had limited input during construction of public and private buildings which normally results in blocking alleyways which in turn significantly contributes to flooding during the rainy season.
According to Mr. Blama, the engineering team that reconstructed the Buchanan, Grand Bassa Road never considered what he calls “Environmental, Social Impact and Assessment (ESIA)” on the road.
“The way the road was constructed, the EPA has no input. But however, we have recognized that the culvert approaching Smell No Taste, there was a drop in between there. There is a need for the Ministry of Public Works, maybe during the upcoming dry season to elevate the culvert to a bigger one,” he intoned.
The EPA boss also sees sand mining activities at the Smell No Taste community as one of the challenges that are contributing to the flooding.
According to Mr. Blama, sand mining undermines the bank of the river and has blocked the normal flow of water.
He notes that due to illegal activities when there is a downpour, the water goes into the communities instead of pouring into the river.
He also says illegal constructions on alleyways and on wetland are some of the factors, indicating that wetland is not good for poor folks.
Following his presentation, Mr. Blama pleaded for more budgetary allotment to mitigate some of the pressing challenges affecting the country.
The EPA boss notes that his agency is losing more qualified employees to the private sector as a result of low salaries.
He says despite prevailing circumstance confronting the agency, ranging from manpower to salary and logistics, the agency’s national fiscal budget was again reduced by 40%.