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Rural Communities promise to plant more trees and maintain their forests

By Ishmael Kindamaa Dumbuya

Rural communities and authorities in Mambolo, Kychom and Yeliboya have promised outrightly that they will ensure they plant more treess, mangrooves and maintain the forests in their localities. This promise by the Paramount chiefs of Mambolo, Kychom and the island Chief of Yeliboya came after the Environment Protection Agency of Sierra Leone engaged the said communities in Kambia with the aim of raising their awareness about the environment and establishing the importance of the mangrooves, the trees and the effects of massive sand mining in their communities.

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 includes 67 countries 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.

Mr. Aiah Wurie Kembay, EPA Officer

Mr. Aiah Wurie Kembay, EPA Officer

The EPA-SL delegation headed by the IEC and the Climate Change departments of the Agency informed the community people about the recently launched IPPCC report which rated Sierra Leone as third most vulnerable country in the world interms of climate change. During the visit in the three communities, the delegation was received with warm welcome and praises for their efforts towards helping to keep the environment as well as taking environmental communication to their villages. Aiah Wurie Kembay and Fatmata Bakarr Sesay thoroughly informed the community people about the change in whether and current climatic effects happening as a result of human activities towards the environment.

After raising the environmental awareness and sensitization by the EPA-SL delegation, the Paramount Chief of Mambolo Chiefdom PC Bai Shebora Lion 11 on behalf of his people pledged the maximum support towards protecting the mangroves, the trees and ensuing that unsustainable sand mining is not carried out in their chiefdom. He also advised his community people to continue to spread the good messages towards keeping the environment safe.

PC Bai Shebora Lion 11 after pledging support towards keeping the trees and mangroves intact also advised the government of Sierra Leone to take environmental messages very serious as he alleged the government is responsible for all what is happening today towards the environment. According to the Paramount Chief, any responsible government must always ensure to protect lives and properties as well as the behaviour of its citizens adding that if a government fails to protect its citizens, there will be lawlessness in the country as well as towards the way people handle the environment. He appealed to the government of Sierra Leone through the EPA-SL to set up good laws in other to work towards the recommendation of the report which placed Sierra Leone as the third most vulnerable country to climate change. He said the main reason why laws such as prohibiting the cutting of trees in their chiefdom will not work is because the government of Sierra Leone is not empowering the local authorities towards ensuring the law is abide to and if they stop anyone from cutting trees, the person will go to the police as well as meet senior government officials who will always use their veto powers towards their decisions in the chiefdoms.

“If your sensitization stops in informing the community, it will not hold and work but you need to pack it up with more robust actions” PC Bai Shebora Lion 11 told the delegation from the Environment Protection Agency adding that environmental messages must not be mixed with politics but actions for the development of the country. He said there is a secret bush in their community which has been protected for many years but presently faces deforestation and logging and when he cautioned them, a senior government officer was said to have instructed the logging in that secret bush.

In the communities of Mambolo, Kychom and Yeliboya, it was interesting to see community elders and members embracing the idea of planting more trees in their communities. They called on the agency to facilitate the planting of mangroves and other trees in their communities. The Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Food security, Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay was happy to hear the news of planting more tress and he called on the communities to send their requests to them which they are prepared to honour.

The Community people expressed concern over the decline in fishing in their various communities. They admitted that indeed the cutting of trees had been impacting on them greatly which was done through lack of knowledge towards the importance of trees.

The women as well appreciates the messages given by the EPA delegation in stopping deforestation, uncontrolled sand mining and the encouragement of planting more trees for a better community devoid of hot sun and other climatic consequences. The Chief of Yeliboya, Pa Adikalie Bangura on behalf of his people also promised to cut a tree and plant more trees in the island. He also called on the government to help them plant more trees in the community.

Mr. Aiah Wurie Kembay from the climate change secretariat of the EPA 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.

 

Posted by on 10:46 pm. Filed under ENVIRONMENT, 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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