The much-publicized Blue Oceans Conference opened Monday March 18, 2019 in Monrovia with a beach cleaning operation as partners called for concerted efforts in maintaining marine environment in Liberia and other parts of the world clean at all times.
The historic conference is organized by the Liberian Government, the Swedish Embassy near Monrovia and Conservation International.
On Monday March 18, 2019, the conference started with a cleanup campaign on a beach in Paynesville, including the organizers, local and international guests attending the conference and the Paynesville City Corporation.
At a press conference following the cleaning up exercise, the Chairman of the National Steering Committee, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Executive Director, Nathaniel Blama, said the historic conference brings together major policy makers, local and international to discuss challenges faced by the marine ecosystem as well as discuss ways in mitigating those challenges.
The EPA boss however warned that it was now time Liberia joins the rest of the world in taking concrete actions to save the marine environment.
According to Mr. Blama, there are lots of problems confronting the ecosystem. He further said “a lot of time people have misused it, abused it and took it as a source of dumping ground. It has been misused; people see it as a dumping ground, but it is not. It is a major source of our livelihood and our survival. Until we can see it as that, it will continue to harm us and if we don’t conserve it and make it work to benefit all Liberians, especially the most vulnerable, we could be putting ourselves at risk.”
He was flanked by the Acting Swedish Ambassador to Liberia, Elisabeth Harleman and the Country Director of Conservation International, Jessica Donovan-Allen.
For her part, Madam Harleman noted that her country’s government was excited to work with Liberia and Conservation International in promoting a clean and safe marine environment.
According to her, the event in Liberia is in support of the United Nations global platform in promoting a clean marine environment as labeled in Goal 14 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
At the same time, the Country Director of Conservation International, Jessica Donovan-Allen, noted that since 2002, her organization has been working in the terrestrial areas- promoting the conservation of Liberia’s forest and was excited to be part of the team in promoting a safe marine environment.
“Liberia does not only have a vast forest, but one of the last rich and intact marine and ocean ecosystems in the region,” she said.
Meanwhile, one of the highlights of the first day’s event was the beach clean-up campaign where the manager of a local recycling company, the Ever-Green Institute, disclosed that his entity is producing several items including diesel fuels, gasoline for cars and generators, cooking gas, roofing tiles from recycled plastic materials.
John Smith noted that with the use of recycled materials, his entity is contributing to the control of plastic materials, but is challenged due to lack of logistics and basic automotive equipment.
“We carried out awareness, telling people how to keep their various waste. To all communities, the message is we try to separate and control plastic. Plastic cannot really be the issues, but we can be the issue. So, if we know how to control it, then we will not find plastic all around in the streets and the ocean,” Smith said.
The EPA boss was amazed and pledged his commitment to working with the entity to improve their production. He called on every user of fuel and gasoline to purchase the entity’s product as a mean of supporting them. TNR