EPA Demolishes ‘Illegal’ Structures

Some EPA Staff carrying out the demolition exercise

 

Authorities of the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (EPA) on Monday, April 22, 2019 demolished and halted two illegal constructions in Paynesville and New Matadi Estate Communities.

Environmental inspectors partially demolished a fence erected in a ‘borrow pit’ near Studio Junction, opposite ELWA Hospital, Paynesville in blatant disregard to a ‘halt order’ placed on the project.

A septictank erected in close proximity to a drinking well in Matadi Estate was also destroyed by the inspectors to avert health crisis in the community.

EPA Assistant Manager for Technical Services, R. Baiyezenah W. Brown said the owner of the fence, Edwina Crump Zackpah refused to honor a previous invitation, but later accepted on April 11, 2019 to honor a second invitation extended her under the signature of Dr. Nathaniel T. Blama, Sr. Executive Director of the EPA.

Madam Zackpah is Commissioner for Licensing and Regulations Department at the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA). 

He disclosed that during a meeting with Madam Zackpah on 11 April, it was agreed that she halt on-going work at the site until she is provided an environmental permit.

According to him, Madam Zackpah accepted, but later elected to disregard the order in complete violation of the environmental laws which forbids such construction in the absence of environmental permit.

“Our action is based on her refusal to do an Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), which would guarantee an environmental permit,” Brown said.

Continuing he said: “We are not saying that she cannot carry out the construction, we only want her to follow the terms and conditions provided for under the Environmental Protection and Management Law of Liberia”.

He said it is a violation for people to obstruct the normal flows of water, and indicated that construction of such requires an ESIA.

The EPA, Mr. Brown noted can’t provide license to Madam Zackpah in the absence of an ESIA, because her project will have adverse effects on other residents.  

He further explained that ESIA would enable the EPA effectively guide the construction so that it cannot have adverse effects on the community and the project itself.

Some residents lauded the EPA for demolishing the construction, because according to them the agency’s action would prevent flooding during the raining season.