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Environment Agency takes environmental communication to rural villages

By Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya

The Information Education and Communication (IEC) department of the Environment Protection Agency of Sierra Leone has taken environmental communication to rural communities that have been class as most vulnerable to climate change in the north and south of the country. The IEC delegation also composed of other EPA-SL staff from the Climate Change Secretariat and the Civil Society representatives visited Konakridee, Shenge and Banana Island. The essence of the sensitization and environmental awareness program is to continue to inform the community people about the dangers ahead if mitigation measures are not implemented.

During the visit, community people confirmed that how they are now seeing the environment was not the way they use to see more than forty to fifty years ago. The community people also confirmed that indeed the sea is eating on their communities in an unprecedented way and praised the Environment Protection agency of Sierra Leone for educating them on how they should contribute positively towards their own environment.

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Konakridee, Shenge and Banana Island are well known communities to have carried out sand mining, zircon mining and other related activities that are threat to the environment. They are poor communities and are found around the coast line of Sierra Leone with no resources to construct dwelling places that can resist whatever kind of weather.

Research shows that the sixth annual release of Maplecroft’s Climate Change and Environmental Risk Atlas reveals that 31% of global economic output will be based in countries facing ‘high’ or ‘extreme risks’ from the impacts of climate change by the year 2025 –a 50% increase on current levels and more than double since the company began researching the issue in 2008.

According to the Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI), which forms a central part of the Atlas, this includes 67 countries whose estimated combined output of $44 trillion will come under increasing threat from the physical impacts of more frequent and extreme climate-related events, such as severe storms, flooding or drought.

The report says the economic impacts of climate change will be most keenly felt by Bangladesh (1st and most at risk), Guinea-Bissau (2nd), Sierra Leone (3rd), Haiti (4th), South Sudan (5th), Nigeria (6th), DR Congo (7th), Cambodia (8th), Philippines (9th) and Ethiopia (10th), which make up the 10 most at risk countries out of the 193 rated by the CCVI.

During the visit in the three communities, the EPA-SL delegation was received with warm welcome and praises on for their efforts towards helping to keep the environment. Mr. Aiah Wurie Kembay from the climate change secretariat of the EPA informed the community people about the recent world report on climate change which rate Sierra Leone and its communities of Konakridee and Banana Island to stand at third country that is most vulnerable to climate change. He said base on such report; the Environment Protection Agency decided to engage on community sensitization in other to raise community awareness about the environment and climate change that is eminent these days. He also emphasized that the report clearly insist “Konakridee, Shenge and Banana Island are vulnerable communities in the world towards climate change because of the poor structures and the low level of houses in these areas”.

Mr. Kembay also noted that human beings are the cause of climate change and further admonished the people and all Sierra Leoneans to change their attitudes towards the manner in which they handle the environment they live in.

Mr. Kembay informed the community people to raise their voices loud to the relevant authorities towards handling the environment adding that the Agency was not there to stop their economic activities in fishing, farming or use of sand but informing them of how they could able to use those things in a sustainable way for the betterment of all. He also encouraged the community people to maintain the mangroves and possibly plants more in other to encourage the fish to lay eggs and ensure community people get a good catch during fishing.

The IEC Officer of the EPA-SL, Madam Fatmata Bakarr Sesay when talking specifically to the women in the three communities said in cases of environmental crisis and disasters, the women and the children are the most to suffer. She preached to them what is the environment and encourage them how to handle it with care and avoid cutting trees and selling the sand. She said as poor communities, they will not be able to resist the unforeseen breeze that may occur because of climate change.

Chief Pa. Adikalie Suma in Konakridee reflected on how the environment uses to be and cited some problems. He encouraged his community people to follow the demands of the EPA-SL and avoid any activities that may harm the environment. He wholeheartedly promised on behalf of community not to ever allow sand and zircon mining in their community again.

Posted by on 10:32 pm. Filed under ENVIRONMENT, NEWS, OTHER NEWS, THE ENVIRONMENT, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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